By Kent Larsen
Funeral Held for LDS Mother and Son Killed in Car Crash
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- More than 1,000 LDS Church members in Las Vegas
attended the funeral of Holly Barton and her eight-year-old son Benjamin
while giving thanks for the miraculous recovery of husband and father James
Barton, who was able to attend the funeral just five days after waking from
a coma and a week after the car crash that took his wife and son as they
traveled to the broadcast dedication of the Winter Quarters Temple.
The family was decimated on Sunday, April 22nd, as they traveled together in
their pickup truck to the broadcast of the dedication of the Winter Quarters
Temple. As they traveled southbound on US Highway 95, a vehicle driven by
Mitchell Dettloff veered into their pickup truck, pushing them across the
median and into incoming traffic, where they collided with another pickup.
The driver of the other pickup truck was also killed.
According to witness reports, Dettloff stopped, got out of his damaged car
and yelled obscenities at the dying victims of the crash, got back into his
car and drove away. Friday, a judge set bail for Dettloff at $2.2 million,
$200,000 for each of the eleven fellony charges against him, including
involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and leaving the scene of the
crash. Dettloff has also been suspended from his job as general manager of
the Rain Forest Cafe at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip.
At the bail hearing, prosecutor Bruce Nelson called Dettloff a coward, "All
you need to know about him is he is a coward and runs away," he told Justice
of the Peace Jennifer Togliatti. "The remorseful don't go into hiding. The
remorseful don't try to blackmail the state," he added, referring to
Dettloff's attempt to secure lower bail if he turned himself in. If
convicted, Dettloff could face up to 96 years in prison.
Family members remembered Holly as an educated and well-traveled teacher,
mother and wife. "Holly's life revolved around her husband and children,"
said her sister, Kelly Cram, who listed the plays, lessons, sports and
church activities in which she and her four children were involved. "Her
life was full." The Las Vegas native earned degrees in business
administration and secondary education from BYU and taught math at Chaparral
High School for a year before she married James Barton in April 1992.
Born less than a year later, Benjamin Barton loved baseball, horses, dirt
bikes and camping with his father, remembered his family. Over his casket at
the funeral hung a picture of his Little League team with the caption
'Always #1', referring to his jersey number. "He was just a sweet little
boy," said his grandmother, LaVaughn Barton. His maternal grandmother, Joyce
Wasden, said that mother and son were nearly inseparable, "Holly and Ben
were extremely close, it was almost uncanny," she said. "He inherited her
sense of love for everybody."
James Barton's brother-in-law Brett Bleazard spoke for him at the funeral,
"" 'I want you to stand up and tell my friends three things,' " Bleazard
recounted Barton telling him. " 'Please tell everyone I love Holly, tell
them I love Buster Brown and that he is my boy,' " calling Benjamin by his
nickname. " 'And tell them ... we'll be together forever.' "
'We'll be Together Forever': Mother and son buried together
Las Vegas NV Review-Journal 1May01 D2
By Michael Squires: Review-Journal
Friends, family share crash survivor's farewell to loved ones
Bail $2.2 million for Vegas hotel manager in triple fatal crash
Las Vegas NV Sun (AP) 27Apr01 P2
LDS Family Decimated in Las Vegas Car Accident Sunday Night