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Sheriff: Father accidentally shoots, kills son

January 16, 2012

By Jennifer Wheeler, Galesburg.com

WILLIAMSFIELD — A 34-year-old man was killed Sunday after his father likely accidently shot him in the head while hunting deer in Knox County.

Steven Hayworth Jr., 34, Washington, was pronounced dead at the scene, while the father, Steven Hayworth Sr., 59, Trivoli, sustained injuries for a non-firearm related issue, according to Knox County Sheriff David Clague.

Clague said 911 dispatchers received a call of a hunting accident around 3 p.m. Sunday near 2345 Knox County Road 1750 N. in Williamsfield. When they arrived, Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas pronounced the son dead, and the father was transported to OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg. The father was treated Sunday and released, said Carrie Bernett, hospital marketing and public relations coordinator.

Clague said the father and son were hunting with a friend about one-quarter of the mile from the road. The preliminary investigation has determined that two of the individuals were stationary, while one person was the “walker,”
or the person who attempts to flush out the deer for the others to shoot.

The father and son were located at least 400 yards away from one another.
The father fired at the deer but missed and fatally shot his son once in the head, Clague said.

“The shooter and victim couldn’t have seen each other,” Clague said.

He added that lay of the land and timber made it nearly impossible for the two to see each other. Officials have no reason to believe there was foul play, Clague said.

The victim’s autopsy was scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The incident remains under investigation by the Illinois Conservation Police and Knox County Sheriff’s Department. The Illinois State Police Crime Scene Service assisted in the accident.

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