A Jerseyville man has been sentenced to five years in prison for the death of his daughter in a boating accident near Litchfield almost three years ago. 40 year old Eric Hazelwonder admitted guilt in March to operating a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol resulting in death. He could be out in less than five years, but was already in trouble with the law when the accident took place.
Hazelwonder was on probation at the time, and had a blood alcohol level just below the legal limit when it was checked hours after the accident on Lake Lou Yeager July 3, 2009. 15 year old Hailey Hazelwonder died when she was struck by the boat's propeller. She was in the water wearing a life vest when her father turned on the boat and it immediately went into reverse, causing fatal injuries when it hit her. Authorities say Eric Hazelwonder admitted to using marijuana in the days leading up to the accident, and used hydrocodone the day of the crash.