Kinnick arrested for leaving scene of fatal 2020 hit and run
By Brandon Hurley
EDITOR'S NOTE: Direct quotations from Tina King were taken from a previous interview with the Jefferson Herald in 2021. That story can be found here.
The alleged offender of a 2020 hit and run which ended in the death of a local man has been detained.
Robert Kinnick, 74, of Grand Junction was arrested by the Greene County Sheriff’s department the morning of Sept. 15 at 214 Main Street in Coon Rapids at a nursing home, charged with leaving the scene of an accident where a death had occurred. The offense stems from a fatal hit-and-run incident in December of 2020.
Travis Fincel, 46, never regained consciousness from a December 2020 hit-and-run near Sandoe Street East and 16th Street North in Grand Junction. Fincel was walking along 16th Street around 8:10 p.m. when Kinnick, traveling northbound on 16th in a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup, allegedly collided with Fincel, dragging him roughly 100 feet. Kinnick allegedly fled the scene and did not offer to supply aid or call for emergency services.
Eventually, another motorist stopped and attempted to administer aid after calling on the services of a few neighbors, including a nurse and a fire fighter, court documents say.
Kinnick was located that night by law enforcement just up the street at the Grand Junction Casey’s. He was aware that he hit Fincel, Greene County Sheriff Jack Williams later told The Jefferson Herald — he just thought he “grazed” him.
Fincel was eventually LifeFlighted to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. His family later removed him artificial life support, and on Jan. 7, 2021, Fincel passed away due to the injuries from the collision.
Kinnick’s charges were not handed out until a warrant was issued in January of this year, a full 13 months after Fincel was hit and had passed. Since the original incident, Kinnick has crashed into a light pole, which he did on Easter last year. He lost control of his 2015 Dodge Ram — the same truck he was driving that struck Fincel — and collided with the pole at 9th Street South and Elizabeth Street West in Grand Junction. Kinnick was cited by a Greene County deputy for failure to maintain control and failure to provide proof of financial liability.
Around Grand Junction, “Travy” Fincel was a well-known user of meth.
“He was the town drug addict,” Tina King said in a previous interview with the Jefferson Herald. King was Fincel’s former girlfriend and a co-parent to their children. But, family and friends felt his addiction didn’t deter him from being a good person.
Fincel didn’t steal to help aid his habit, like many other addicts, King said
“He was still a productive member of society,” she said.
Fincel was an employed, family man – a father of six – having worked for Rueter’s for 10 years and later Neese Inc. Fincel was what someone might term a “functioning addict,” King said.
“He behaved more sober-like when he was high,” she said in the 2021 interview. “A lot of people had no idea he’d gone back to using.”
“That doesn’t make him any less deserving of justice,” she added.
The Iowa State Patrol conducted the investigation which led to Kinnick’s charges.
He plead not guilty to leaving the scene of a death on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Representatives of Fincel attempted to gain restitution from Kinnick for burial expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as medical expenses in July 2021, but the request was later voluntarily dismissed, falling short in March.
“Kinnick’s actions in running over and dragging Travis Fincel, failing to stop and render aid, and leaving the scene of the collision were wanton and willful actions taken in disregard of Travis Fincel’s rights and subject Kinnick to liability for punitive damages,” the July 26, 2021 petition read.
The petition was initially slated for a jury trial prior to the dismissal.
Kinnick’s most recent traffic violation was May 1, 2021 when he was pulled over and cited for failure to provide proof of insurance.
Multiple attempts to reach law enforcement for comment on this story were met with little additional info, instead choosing to refrain from sharing further details. It is unclear why law enforcement decided to charge Kinnick with leaving the scene of an accident after initially letting him go.