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Austin, MN (KROC-AM News) - An Austin man today backed out of a plea agreement in a case involving a fatal hit and run after it became apparent the judge in the case would likely send him to prison.

36-year-old Darin Finley earlier entered guilty pleas to a criminal vehicular homicide charge stemming from the death of 41-year-old Melissa Rack of Austin on the night of December 30, 2022. He also admitted to a DWI-related charge stemming from a separate incident that occurred about two months later.

Drunk driving.
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He was allegedly driving drunk when his vehicle struck the woman on Oakland Place next to East Side Park in Austin. According to the criminal complaint, one of the witnesses to the fatal incident saw the driver of a white SUV stop near the site of the collision, run back to the intersection where the victim was located, and then return to the SUV before speeding away.

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The court record says a damaged Chevy Suburban was located by police parked in a driveway at a residence several blocks from where the victim was found. Austin police officers spoke with Finley after he answered a knock at his front door. The officers indicated Finley had glassy eyes and appeared to be intoxicated. It also states he initially denied being involved, but later admitted he was driving and he "hit something."

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In court today, the judge in the case denied his motion requesting a downward departure from sentencing guidelines, which call for a presumptive sentence of four-years in prison. Finley argued that he was amenable to probation and asked for a sentence that would allow him to avoid time in prison or jail.

Finley responded to the judge’s ruling by canceling the plea agreement. He is currently scheduled to stand trial in May.  His conditional bail remains set at $35,000.

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Gallery Credit: Troy Dunken

 

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