Woman Flees Accident After Hitting a Car and a Tree in Missoula
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On March 2, 2023, at approximately 2:35 p.m., Missoula Police Department officers investigated a hit-and-run crash near the intersection of Catlin and South 5th Street West. Reporting parties described the vehicle that fled the scene as a black suburban.
While checking the area, an officer was able to locate a vehicle matching the description parked at the end of the cul-de-sac in the 800 block of North Davis Street. The officer noticed that the vehicle had significant front-end damage and was registered to 42-year-old Rena Finley.
Officers advised via radio that they had located Finley walking near Davis Street and River Road. The officers visually cleared the vehicle. While doing so, an officer was able to observe an open and what appeared to be an empty vodka bottle on the front passenger side floorboard.
Witnesses Explain What Happened
Multiple witnesses on the scene provided statements to officers. One witness explained that she ended up behind the SUV after it took a "real wide turn" onto Catlin from the area of South 7th Street West. She stated the SUV was driving "really fast for this road." The speed limit on Catlin in that area is 25mph. She said the SUV "blew through the stop sign" and collided with another car. After hitting the car, the SUV got up "onto the curb, hit the tree, pulled back, hit it again, pulled back," and drove away.
Also on the scene was the owner of a nearby residential property. He informed the officer that he had video surveillance of the intersection and incident. He pulled the video up on a large screen. In the video, the officer saw a dark-colored SUV speeding through the intersection, not stopping for the stop sign, and colliding with the passenger car. Court documents indicate Finley did not have insurance on the vehicle at the time of the accident.
The Suspect is Located
Another officer arrived at the intersection of River Road and North Davis, approximately one block from where the suspect vehicle was located, and saw Finley walking. The officer immediately recognized Finley from prior dealings and knew that described vehicle belonged to her. The officer immediately observed several indicators of impairment while speaking with Finley. Finley had red, watery eyes, slurred speech, difficulty balancing, and her level of cooperation was quite variable throughout the contact.
The officer asked Finley to perform standardized field sobriety tests, but she refused. The officer read Finely the PAST advisory, but she refused to provide a sample. The officer then placed Finley under arrest for impaired driving. The officer also read the Implied Consent Advisory, but Finley refused to provide a blood sample.
The officer was granted a warrant and transported Finley to St. Patrick's hospital. St Patrick's personnel attempted several times to obtain a sample from Finley, but were unsuccessful due to issues with Finley's blood vessels. After several attempts, they told the officer that a sample could not be collected.
Court documents indicate Finley’s driver’s license shows as suspended by Yellowstone County, Flathead County, and Gallatin County Justice Courts for failing to appear in traffic cases, and by the Helena Municipal Court for failure to comply with the terms of a sentence.
Finley is currently being charged with felony criminal endangerment, aggravated driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to give notice by quickest means of an accident, operating without liability insurance, and attempted obstructing a peace officer.
The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.