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Drunk Driver Responsible For Crash That Killed Sarah Hyland’s Cousin Sentenced To Decades Behind Bars

Jeffrey Eggeling was driving under the influence when he ran a red light and crashed into another car, killing 14-year-old Trevor Canaday.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Jeffrey Eggeling Sarah Hyland

The drunk driver responsible for the death of actress Sarah Hyland’s teenage cousin will spend more than two decades behind bars, a judge decided this week.

Jeffrey Eggeling, 37, appeared in court on Thursday, where a judge sentenced him to 43 to 53 years in prison for vehicular homicide and drunken driving, Douglas County Attorney Administrator Brenda D. Beadle confirmed to PEOPLE.

Eggeling was driving under the influence when he ran a red light and caused the Dec. 1 collision that killed 14-year-old Trevor Canaday, the Omaha World-Herald reports. Eggeling, a Bennington, Nebraska resident, was uninjured in the crash, and fled the scene on foot but was apprehended nearby by authorities.

Canaday, who was riding in the car with his father at the time, was ejected from his seat and later died from his injuries. His father was injured but survived. 

Eggeling was facing charges of motor vehicle homicide, driving under the influence, and causing serious bodily injury in July, and pleaded no contest, PEOPLE previously reported.

Taking to Twitter last year, Hyland asked her followers to pray for her family and donate to an online fundraiser created in her cousin's honor.

“Yesterday my 14-year-old cousin was killed by a drunk driver named Jeffrey Eggerling (sic). My Uncle is in the hospital awaiting more surgeries. PLEASE keep your prayers with my family during this horrific time. And please DONATE,” her tweet read.

In a second tweet, the 28-year-old actress called Eggeling a “murderer” and added, “May he rot in hell.”

Eggeling, who had previously been convicted three times for drunk driving and once for operating a boat while under the influence, addressed Canaday’s family during Thursday’s sentencing, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Eggeling first called himself “heartless and self-centered” before acknowledging “the pain and fear and sadness and sorrow” he caused his victim’s family, according to the outlet.

“I’m such a foolish, sick, cowardly human for running from that intersection,” he said.

At the time of his arrest, Eggeling had a blood alcohol concentration of .103, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE. The legal limit is .08.

Eggeling initially faced a maximum sentence of 53; state law dictates that he will be eligible for parole after serving 21.5 years — half of his sentence, according to the World-Herald. If he is not granted parole, he will serve 26.5 years behind bars.

Addressing the court on Thursday, the victim’s father, Bryan Canaday, spoke out about the time Eggeling is likely to serve.

“Our sentence has not been cut in half,” Bryan Canaday told the judge. “My family and I have been given a life sentence without parole.”

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