HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Friends and relatives of a once up-and-coming state politician posted $600,000 bail Tuesday, hoping to free the man for Christmas while he appeals a prison sentence issued after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run traffic death.

A Dauphin County judge set bail on orders from the state Supreme Court. The trial judge, who sentenced Thomas W. Druce to two to four years in prison, had denied bail.

The 39-year-old former state representative pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident that killed Kenneth Cains of Harrisburg. Druce also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and insurance fraud.

Druce struck Cains on a street near the Capitol in July 1999. He did not stop or report the accident. When detectives questioned him months later, he told them he thought he hit a sign.

Druce is contesting his sentence by Dauphin County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph H. Kleinfelter on grounds he was not impartial and exceeded sentencing guidelines.