Austin man accused of being involved in fatal hit-and-run accident while intoxicated

An Austin man facing two felony charges in Mower County District Court after allegedly being involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident while intoxicated in southeast Austin late Friday evening is pleading not guilty.

35-year-old Darin Finley of Austin pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges of criminal vehicular homicide, driver who causes collision leaves scene, and criminal vehicular homicide, operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.  Officers from the Austin Police Department responded at approximately 11:18 p.m. Friday evening to a report of a person lying in the roadway on Oakland Place SE near Oakland Avenue SE.  Chief of Police Dave McKichan stated in a news release that officers arrived on the scene and rendered CPR to 41-year old Melissa Rack of Austin, who was not breathing and did not have a pulse.  Chief McKichan stated that debris and other evidence indicated that a vehicle had struck Rack.  Mayo Ambulance took over life-saving efforts, but Rack was later declared deceased.

McKichan went on to report that the vehicle and the driver who had struck Rack were not on the scene, and using debris and a witness statement, Chief McKichan stated that officers canvassed the area and located the suspect vehicle, with damage consistent with the crash scene, in the driveway of a residence in the 1700 block of 1st Ave. SE.  Officers then made contact with Finley at the residence, and McKichan stated that as a result of the investigation into the fatality, Finley was taken into custody on probable cause for violating Minnesota’s criminal vehicular homicide statute.

Judge Natalie Martinez set unconditional bail or bond for Finley Tuesday at $100,000, and bail or bond with conditions was set at $35,000.  A pre-trial hearing for Finley in Mower County District Court was scheduled for June 2, with a jury trial scheduled for June 12th.