KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Senate Bill 9, better known as “Lofton’s Law” was passed by the Senate on Thursday.
Senator Robby Mills introduced the bill in response to the death of 18-year-old Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood. Lofton, a Henderson native, was a freshman attending the University of Kentucky when he died of acute alcohol poisoning on October 18, 2021. Officials say Lofton was left alone at a fraternity house after drinking 18 shots of hard liquor.
“Lofton’s death is an absolute tragedy that no parent should ever go through, especially due to a needless and preventable death,” Mills said. “As a father of two boys, I find this unacceptable and cannot fathom receiving a call that my child was killed because of hazing.”
According to a release, if signed into law, Lofton’s Law would increase the penalty for hazing which results in physical harm or death to a Class D felony and individuals who engaged hazing that does not cause physical harm would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Currently, it’s up to universities and colleges to enact anti-hazing policies.
On February 16, Tracy and Kirk Hazelwood gave a testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We don’t want anyone to go through what we went through,” Tracy Hazelwood said. “I want everyone to think about being three hours away and you get that phone call. We just jumped in the car. We live in Henderson County. Before we got to Owensboro, the doctor called and told us to pull over to the side of the road.”