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Man found guilty of assaulting, strangling Breckenridge officer in summer 2018

Posted at 9:11 AM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 11:39:49-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — A 22-year-old man from Minnesota was found guilty of assaulting a Breckenridge police officer in July, resulting in serious injuries to the woman’s head.

Nathan Finnegan, 22, of Austin, Minnesota was found guilty Friday of second-degree assault upon a peace officer with serious bodily injury, driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

After a four-day trial, a Summit County jury deliberated for six hours before finding him guilty on the six charges.

The charges stemmed from an incident on July 21, 2018. Finnegan, who was high on marijuana, crashed his van into a guardrail, left the car in a ditch and walked down the Highlands Drive toward State Highway 9, undressing as he went. A local bus driver found him lying on the ground in boxers a quarter mile away from the car. The driver positioned her bus in a protective position to shield him from passing vehicle traffic and called 911.

A police officer with the Breckenridge Police Department arrived at the scene and ushered Finnegan to the curb to wait for emergency services. He was bleeding from one hand, possibly from the car crash.

As they waited, Finnegan kept acting erratically and after bystanders had left the area, he hit the officer in the face multiple times and strangled her unconscious. The officer had serious head injuries as a result. When Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the scene, they apprehended Finnegan, who continued to resist arrest.

“I am continually amazed at the day-to-day courage law enforcement officers exhibit in their mission to protect us all,” said Bruce Brown, 5th Judicial District Attorney. “When an out-of-control person turns on those who have come to render them aid, it makes you realize how extraordinary the commitment of these brave officers (is).”

Finnegan will face his sentencing — which will likely range between five and 16 years in prison — on May 6.