Austin Man Charged With Fatal Hit-and-Run
Austin, MN (KROC-AM News) - An Austin man has been charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a deadly hit-and-run that occurred late Friday night in Austin.
35-year-old Darin Finley was formally arraigned on the charges in Mower County Court this morning. It is alleged that he was intoxicated when his SUV struck and fatally injured 41-year-old Melissa Rack. Austin Police reported the Austin woman was found lying in the eastbound traffic lane of Oakland Place at the southwest edge of East Side Park around 11:15 p.m. on Friday.
The criminal complaint says the responding officers located debris at the scene from a 2007-2014 Chevrolet Tahoe or Suburban and witnesses reported seeing a white SUV stop before speeding away. One of the witnesses saw the driver, after pulling into her driveway, run back to the intersection where the victim was located before he returned to the SUV and then sped away.
Austin police conducted a search of the area and located a white Chevy Suburban with front end damage matching the debris found near the crash victim parked in the driveway outside a home at 1713 First Avenue Northeast. After knocking at the front door, investigators made contact with Finley, who initially stated he had "no idea" what had happened. The court document says he eventually admitted he was driving and he "hit something."
The charges state the investigators noted Finley had glassy eyes and appeared to be intoxicated. Finley denied having anything to drink at his home after the crash but when he was asked how much he had to drink that day, he responded, "that's another question I don't know."
Finley told the officers he wanted to go to a hospital to be checked out and further indicators of intoxication were detected by the officers while they were with him in the exam room. At that point, he was informed that the person struck by the vehicle had died, and the complaint says Finley responded by hanging his head and stating "that he wanted to go to inpatient treatment.
The complaint also says Finley refused to submit to a breath test while he was speaking with the officers at his home, but later was given one while he was being booked into the Mower County Jail, and his blood-alcohol-concentration at just over .06. The results of a blood test are still pending.
Finley today entered not guilty pleas to the felony charges and was ordered back to court in June for a pre-trial hearing. His conditional bail was set at $35,000.