Lofton Hazelwood was an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Kentucky (UK) when he died of alcohol overdose on October 18, 2021, after enduring 5 weeks of hazing while pledging the FarmHouse Fraternity at the University of Kentucky. Lofton grew up in Henderson, KY, and enjoyed playing golf, hunting, fishing, going to the lake, and boating. He was the youngest child and only son of Tracey and Kirk Hazelwood, and the absolutely doted on baby brother of his sisters Logan, Sydney, and Preston. “Lofton was an old soul. He loved everybody,” Tracey says. Lofton graduated from Henderson County High School and was studying Agricultural Economics at UK after falling in love with farming.
Because COVID forced at-home learning in 2020, Lofton and his older sister Preston left for college at the same time in 2021, both at UK, where their older sisters had already graduated. “I told my husband that our lives were changed forever,” Tracey remembers of when their two youngest children left for college, “but I never dreamed of the change that would take place.” Lofton began fraternity rush as soon as he arrived on campus. “We all encouraged him to go through rush. We believed it would be a good thing.” Several times during pledging, Lofton told his parents he wanted to quit. “We had no clue what he was going through. We told him it was almost over,” Tracey says. On the day Lofton died, Tracey spoke with him that morning before class. After class, Lofton met Preston for lunch before doing homework in his dorm. He then went to a 4pm meeting at the FarmHouse. Fraternity tradition called for the pledges to consume Wild Turkey 101 prior to the planned event that evening, serenading sorority houses, and by 4:50pm, Lofton was so intoxicated he could barely walk. The fraternity members took him to a bedroom and left to serenade. Around 6pm, a fraternity member returned to find Lofton unresponsive — emergency responders tried to revive him, but it was too late. His BAC was .354 at the time of his death.
Lofton’s family pushed for “Lofton’s Law,” a felony anti-hazing law in Kentucky since the state had no laws pertaining to hazing prior to Lofton's death. Lofton's Law was signed into Kentucky law in March 2023. “Our family has been ripped apart, and no family should ever have to go through what we are dealing with,” says Tracey. “We beg of everyone in a situation like Lofton’s to please call for help and don’t ever leave anyone. You might just save someone’s life.”