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Saturday, April 10, 1999



Big Isle cop
goes for plea
bargain

In 1997, Jeffrey Darrow
rear-ended a fellow officer's car,
causing his death

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent

Tapa

HILO -- Police officer Jeffrey Darrow has agreed to enter no-contest and guilty pleas to charges arising from the automobile accident in which Darrow killed fellow officer Kenneth Keliipio in 1997, the Hawaii County prosecutor's office has announced.

At night in heavy rain, Keliipio made a left turn from a side street onto Volcano Highway between Hilo and Keaau.

Darrow, who had been drinking at a police recruit graduation party, hit Keliipio's car from behind.

Trial for Darrow on a charge of first-degree negligent homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol was set for next month. The negligent-homicide charge was a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In a plea agreement, Darrow will instead enter a no-contest plea Thursday to a charge of third-degree negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.

Darrow will also plead guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol.

There is no agreement regarding sentencing, for which a date will be set later.

"The family of the late Kenneth Keliipio was informed of this decision, and they are in agreement with the disposition of this case," a prosecution statement said.

Darrow was on leave from the Police Department without pay pending the outcome of the case. During that time, he was temporarily hired as an inspector for the county Planning Department.

His current work status was not immediately available.



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