Man charged in the death of a woman last December has fate delayed

Published 4:30 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

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A man charged in the death of a woman nearly a year ago after hitting her with his vehicle while driving intoxicated will wait a little longer to find out his fate.

Darin Douglas Finely, 36, was due to be sentenced for fleeing the scene of the accident that killed Melissa Rack on Dec. 30.

According to September’s plea agreement, in exchange for the guilty plea for criminal vehicle homicide-fleeing the scene of an accident, the state would recommend a dispositional departure from sentencing guidelines and a stay of execution of sentence with probation to the Department of Corrections at a level deemed appropriate as well as additional steps related to terms of probation, no additional jail time, a fine at the court’s discretion, mandatory minimums apply on DWI file and all other terms open for argument at sentencing.

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However, Thursday’s sentencing date was turned into a hearing that included a statement by Finley himself as well as a victim impact statement being read, but with no sentencing in the case. A rescheduled sentencing date has yet to be named.

A plea agreement in September, in which Finley agreed to switch his plea on the charge, dropped a charge of vehicular homicide-DWI.

Finley was arrested not long after police responded to a person lying in the roadway of Oakland Place SE near Oakland Avenue SE at around 11:18 p.m. on Dec. 30.  Officers responding to the scene found Melissa Rack not breathing and with no pulse. They began CPR on her until Mayo Clinic Ambulance arrived.

She was later pronounced dead at Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin.  Witnesses at the scene allegedly observed Finley at the scene including one who said she saw a male kneel down as if to pick something up and then run back to the vehicle and speed off eastbound on Oakland Avenue East.

When officers eventually made contact with Finley, he told them he had no idea what happened and that he did not remember driving. He also allegedly told a family member earlier that he had hit a deer.