Investigations continue five months after FarmHouse member’s death


The FarmHouse Fraternity house on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, the night Hazelwood died, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Kentucky Kernel

Rayleigh Deaton

Nearly five months after the death of Thomas “Lofton” Hazelwood, police investigations continue, and no charges have been filed. 


On Oct. 18, UK Police responded to the university’s FarmHouse Fraternity chapter house at 6:22 p.m. to find Hazelwood unresponsive in the basement. After unsuccessful attempts to revive him at the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, Hazelwood was pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m.

Hazelwood, 18, was a first-year agricultural economics major from Henderson County, Kentucky, and “new member” of FarmHouse, according to an emailed statement from UK president Eli Capilouto.

According to Fayette County Coroner Garry Ginn, cause of death was alcohol toxicity, and the case was ruled as accidental.

“No criminal charges will be filed in this case, per the University of Kentucky Police,” the coroner’s report states.

The report shows that Hazelwood had been drinking hard liquor heavily during the day. His toxicology report found a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.354; the legal BAC limit in Kentucky is 0.08.

Additionally, while the report found 94 ng/mL of amphetamine, or Adderall, in Hazelwood’s system, this is in line with his prescribed dosage, according to the police report. 

Both Ginn and the university stated that no foul play was suspected. On Oct. 19, Capilouto said that two investigations were opened following the incident — one by UKPD and one by the UK Office of Student Conduct — and both investigations were to be made public when completed.

Investigation results

In a Dec. 22 email, Capilouto updated the campus community on the investigation status. According to the email, police and student conduct officials had reviewed relevant social media feeds, consulted available video evidence and conducted nearly 50 interviews, waiting on outstanding social media search warrants and interviews to release their official statement.

Interviews found that Hazelwood had drunk approximately 18 shots of bourbon in a 45-minute period. 

The investigations revealed that on Oct. 18, new members of FarmHouse, including Hazelwood, had been drinking and playing video games at the fraternity house. Before leaving for the night’s sorority serenade (an event where fraternities visit sororities and sing to them after Monday night dinners), Hazelwood’s peers thought him too intoxicated to attend, although they did not feel he was at a dangerous level.

As a “precautionary” measure, fraternity members rolled Hazelwood on his side before leaving around 5:10-5:15 p.m., according to interviews.

Upon returning to the fraternity house around an hour later, one FarmHouse member found Hazelwood unresponsive, immediately finding someone to perform CPR and calling 911. At 6:19 p.m., the Lexington Fire Department arrived to take the still unresponsive Hazelwood to the hospital.

While responding to the 911 call, UK Police recorded 20 counts of liquor law violations at the fraternity house on Oct. 18, finding alcohol in a room that they estimated could have been accessible to approximately 20 people.

The public crime log records both the death investigation and the 20 counts of persons aged 18-20 in possession of alcohol at 5 p.m.

“The 5 p.m. is simply a reference to them looking back and estimating maybe what time people had been there at a certain point, that is not what time police were there,” UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said.

While they did not find evidence of “forced drinking,” “physical coercion” or other “criminal wrongdoing” connected to Hazelwood’s death, the investigations did include instances when FarmHouse members violated university policy throughout the fall 2021 semester.

Evidence of hazing, underage drinking, use of fake IDs and failure to follow UK’s COVID-19 safety guidelines appeared throughout the semester, which led to “a culture of noncompliance in which such activities were accepted” and also violated university policy and the Code of Student Conduct.

The instances of hazing described in interviews include: personal servitude; forced wearing of apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste; degrading or humiliating games and activities; line-ups and berating and an expectation of participation in activities that are illegal or in violation of university policy, according to police.

FarmHouse’s suspension

Following the investigations’ preliminary findings, Capilouto announced in a Dec. 22 email that FarmHouse Fraternity’s UK chapter is suspended for at least four years, saying the fraternity’s registered student organization status had been revoked.

This came after UK’s Fraternity and Sorority Life Office (FSL) announced that all Interfraternity Council (IFC) new member events were suspended indefinitely. IFC acts as the governing body of 20 of UK’s 24 fraternities.

Under the suspension, new members, or pledges, will not be able to partake in any official or unofficial activities, including any “social, educational and formal interactions between new and returning members of the organization or chapter,” according to an email sent to the FSL community by Kirsten Turner, vice president for student success. Active members are prohibited from communicating with new members.

Turner also announced that more education and training would be made mandatory for FSL members, covering topics like bystander intervention, hazing, alcohol use and “university expectations.”

Current standings

Months later, the investigations are still ongoing, although on March 9, Blanton told the Kernel that the university expects the police investigation to be “completed shortly.” According to him, the outstanding social media warrants have been fulfilled.

“Those records have been received and reviewed and do not have any impact on the preliminary findings released previously,” Blanton said. “UK Police have reviewed the findings with the prosecutor’s office, resulting in the conclusion that there is not evidence of criminal wrongdoing.”

Additionally, he said that the “majority” of fraternities have completed the additional bystander intervention training that was made mandatory following Hazelwood’s death. The university is also requiring chapter leaders to meet with UK’s FSL staff “to ensure a new member education plan for each organization is understood and in place,” Blanton said.

Blanton said the university’s thoughts are with the victim’s family.

“As an institution, we remain deeply committed to learning from this tragedy along with our students so that, collectively, we do everything we can to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of everyone in our community,” he said.

Additional contributors: Sarah Michels, Emily Girard and Hannah Stanley