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Man gets sentence reduced in hit-and-run deaths of a Muscatine couple

Man gets sentence reduced in hit-and-run deaths of a Muscatine couple

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A man convicted of the hit-and-run deaths of a Muscatine couple in May 2015 had his sentence shortened to seven and half years in a re-sentencing hearing Monday. 

Robert Paul Darrow, 46, was sentenced on Jan. 3, 2017 to 25 years in prison after he hit and killed the couple, on a motorcycle in Illinois City, before fleeing the scene.

Darrow was sentenced in Rock Island County Circuit Court on two counts of failure to report an accident, a Class 1 felony. He was sentenced to twelve and half years for each count, to be served consecutively, meaning he would have been in prison for 25 years. 

Darrow filed to have the sentence reconsidered on the grounds that the consecutive sentencing was unlawful, since the maximum sentence for a Class 1 felony in Illinois is 15 years.  

In the re-sentencing hearing Monday, Judge Norma Kauzlarich gave him 15 years to be served day-for-day, meaning each day served counts toward another day, so Darrow will be in prison for seven and a half years. 

Darrow hit the couple in May 2015 when he crossed the center line headed east in the 26000 block of 124th Ave. near Illinois City. The car struck a motorcycle traveling west.

The driver of the motorcycle, Kevin D. Diehl, 42, and his passenger, Dawn A. Korch, 37, were thrown from the motorcycle. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

An Illinois City firefighter responded to the area after hearing the crash, according to the testimony of Sheriff’s Detective Jason Patterson at Darrow’s preliminary hearing in late May 2015.

The firefighter reportedly saw a man matching Darrow's description standing by the car. The man said he hadn't had a chance to call 911 yet. 

To the left of the car, the firefighter saw a motorcycle and a male nearby who appeared to be dead. When he made his way back to the car, the firefighter saw the man who he later identified as Darrow run south across a field.

Darrow’s girlfriend, who lived more than two miles from the accident, told deputies that she had spoken to him on the phone about 8:32 p.m. the night of the crash. The two had gotten into a fight, and she told him to “just go home.”

He went to her house later and had on wet, muddy clothes and scratches all over his body. She told deputies that Darrow told her he was in an accident and didn’t know what happened. He said he thought he lost consciousness and ran from the scene when he saw people there.

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