Sarah Hyland Says Her Cousin Will 'Forever Be in Our Hearts' on Anniversary of His Death
Sarah Hyland's 14-year-old cousin was killed by a drunk driver in December 2018
On Sunday, the Modern Family actress, 29, paid tribute to Trevor Canaday, who died at age 14 after a drunk driver ran through a red light at an intersection and caused a collision last December.
“Thinking about my family today. Exactly one year ago my little cousin was killed by a drunk driver,” Hyland wrote on her Instagram Story. “A senseless and reckless act took away a beautiful soul. You’ll forever be in our hearts and in the sunsets. Love you Trevor.”
In December 2018, Trevor and his father, Bryan Canaday, were reportedly driving to a show choir event in Omaha, Nebraska, when Jeffrey Eggeling drove through a red light and hit them with his car. Eggeling had been driving a 2011 Ford Escape 69 mph in a 45 mph zone.
According to police documents obtained by PEOPLE, the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .103. (The legal limit for driving under the influence is .08.) The police report stated that officers could smell “the odor of alcoholic beverage” on Eggeling, who also had “slurred speech” at the time.
“The driver of the at-fault vehicle, who was later identified as Jeffrey Eggeling, left the scene of the collision on foot,” the police report said. “The collision resulted in two individuals from the other involved vehicle suffering life-threatening injuries. Eggeling was located on foot a short distance from the collision scene.”
The collision caused Trevor to be ejected from the vehicle, authorities said. He later died after being transported to a local hospital. Trevor’s father, who was also in the car, suffered head and facial injuries during the crash and was still recovering in July.
On July 2, Eggeling, 37, pleaded no contest to motor vehicle homicide, driving under the influence and causing serious bodily injury, Douglas County Attorney Donald W. Kleine previously confirmed to PEOPLE.
Then in September, Eggeling was sentenced to 43 to 53 years in prison for vehicular homicide and drunken driving, Douglas County Attorney Administrator Brenda D. Beadle confirmed to PEOPLE at the time. The maximum sentence the judge could have imposed was the 53-year term.
Trevor’s father and mother, Becky Canaday, gave emotional speeches during Eggeling’s sentencing about their grief over losing their son. “There is a … weight on my soul that will never leave me,” Bryan said, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “It makes some days totally unbearable to get out of bed. But I do because that is what Trevor would want me to do.”
“I fear that this weight will crush me one day,” he continued. “There are still days that I come home from work and I start to call upstairs, ‘Trevor, I’m home,’ only to hear my brain tell me that I will not hear an answer from him again.”
Eggeling, who had two prior DUI charges, will have to serve 21½ years before he is eligible for parole, the outlet reported.