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A Delco man was sentenced to jail for killing a social worker in a hit-and-run crash

Michael Larkin pleaded guilty in December to hitting Michael Hackman and fleeing the scene without reporting the crash to police.

Michael Larkin was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in county jail during a hearing Friday in West Chester.
Michael Larkin was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in county jail during a hearing Friday in West Chester.Read moreFile photo / MCT

A Broomall man was sentenced to 11½ to 23 months in jail for fleeing the scene of a fatal crash that killed a longtime social-services advocate in Chester County.

Michael Larkin, 40, pleaded guilty in December to reckless endangerment and failing to stop and render aid in the July 2020 death of Michael Hackman. Hackman, 64, had been cycling along Providence Road in Willistown Township when he was struck by Larkin’s BMW sedan, prosecutors said Friday.

Rather than stop to assist Hackman or call police immediately, Larkin drove away, and didn’t identify himself as the driver until nearly three hours after the crash, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest.

First Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry said Friday that the negotiated sentence, which was harsher than what is normally called for in reckless endangerment cases, reflected the nature of the incident. In exchange, Barry said, prosecutors withdrew the more serious offenses Larkin was initially charged with.

“Any person who Mr. Larkin would’ve come in contact with would’ve had loved ones mourning the loss of a life,” Barry said. “That’s why you have to do something proactively better than just leave [the scene of a crash.]”

After Hackman was struck, witnesses saw Larkin return to the area twice, asking if the collision was a “bad accident,” the affidavit said. But he failed to tell officers directing traffic that he was responsible.

In a later interview with police, Larkin said he hit Hackman while driving home from picking up takeout at a nearby Mexican restaurant. He said he initially thought he had hit a deer, until he saw Hackman’s bicycle in his rearview mirror.

At first, Larkin disputed the charges, saying in court filings that he is autistic, and that the condition prevented him from initially coming forward on the night of the crash.

Larkin’s attorney, Daniel Bush, said Friday that Larkin entered the guilty plea to accept responsibility for what he called a terrible accident and to provide closure for Hackman’s family.

“This is the end of the line, as far as courts go,” Bush said. “But the impact on the family, and on Mr. Larkin, will live on for eternity.”

Larkin declined to make a statement in court, saying he had spoken with the Hackman family after his guilty plea in December and wished to keep those comments private.

Hackman was a longtime administrator with the Uncommon Individual Foundation, a group based in Devon that helps adults find success in their professional and personal lives through mentorships. Before that, Hackman also helped run “Decades to Doorways,” a program offered by Chester County’s Department of Community Development aimed at ending homelessness in the county, and served as a director for the Pennsylvania Prison Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters in Philadelphia.

In tearful victim impact statements read in court Friday, Hackman’s family said he had dedicated his life to public service and was looking forward to retirement. Upon retiring, they said, he had planned to travel the world with his wife, Charlene.

Hackman’s brother, Richard, told Chester County Court Judge Analisa Sondergaard that his brother was the family’s “social conscience,” and made sure their family of seven siblings remained connected through annual vacations and regular phone calls.

“Memories like that help ease the pain, but not a day goes by where I don’t think about him,” Richard Hackman said. “And it’s like a part of my own life has gone.”