Teens killed in Hardin County crash had just left a Halloween event

Two Hardin Co teens die in weekend crash

HARDIN COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - A community is heartbroken after two teens died in a crash and two others were injured by a suspect involved in a police chase.

The crash happened in Hardin County at the intersection of US 31 West and Battle Training Road. Kentucky State Police say Shawn Welsh and Laura Neville of West Virginia led police on a multi-county chase that started in Meade County before coming to an end in Elizabethtown.

Kentucky State Police say Welsh was behind the wheel when he sped through an intersection, hitting another car killing the driver, 18-year-old Jacob Barber and his 17-year-old passenger, Katarina Peeters.

17-year-old Katarina Peeters was killed in the wreck Saturday night (Source: Family photo)
17-year-old Katarina Peeters was killed in the wreck Saturday night (Source: Family photo) (Source: Family photo)

Barber’s mother, Sharon Combs, says the teens were doing what most kids are doing this time of year, dressing up for Halloween and going to a trunk or treating event.

“He came out in his Viking costume smiling and all proud,” Combs said. “I said go go have fun, be safe, and I love you and he said I love you too.”

That’s the last time Combs saw her son.

“I remember looking at the clock and it was 5:45 p.m. and the next time I saw him he was cold and lifeless,” Combs said.

Jacob Barber's mother said she believed he was giving his friends a ride home, when a man running from police hit his car, killing Barber and a passenger (Source: Family photo)
Jacob Barber's mother said she believed he was giving his friends a ride home, when a man running from police hit his car, killing Barber and a passenger (Source: Family photo) (Source: Family photo)

Combs believes Jacob was giving his friends, Peeters and two other John Hardin High School students a ride home. Around 8:30 p.m., the crash happened.

"Never saw it coming," Combs said. "It was instant and preventable."

Peeters also died in the accident. She, Jacob and another teen in the car were on the archery team. Peeters was known for her smile. That’s what her classmate Nick Novotka wants to remember. He says she dressed up as a princess Saturday.

"She looked great as a princess and that was the last time I talked to them," Novotka said. "I didn't say bye."

Combs wants to know why three police agencies were involved in that pursuit that started in Meade County eventually traveling through Radcliff and Vine Grove.

“You can’t call it off?,” questioned Combs. “You can’t put up road blocks? Protect and serve 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. No, no, there is no reason for this.”

Barber had recently graduated from Hardin County High School. Peeters was a senior at John Hardin High. WAVE 3 News did reach out to Meade County Sheriff’s Office since they are the agency that started the pursuit, the sheriff did not return a phone call.

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