Pursuit ends in arrest

Published 8:21 pm Saturday, February 1, 2020

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The Covington County Sheriff’s Office received an intelligence bulletin from Okaloosa County authorities about an armed and dangerous suspect. On January 31, 2020, at approximately 12:15 pm, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded to a North Okaloosa residence after receiving a 911 call about A Domestic Violence incident. According to Okaloosa County Investigators, Thomas Lee Finley age 40, shot at his wife as she arrived in the driveway of their Baker, Florida home. The wife escaped without injury and their marital home was set on fire. Through information sharing, Thomas Finley was potentially en route to a Red Level, Alabama address where his wife had sought safety with her family. Okaloosa County provided a detailed vehicle description and later updated responding officers that Thomas Finley had obtained multiple weapons and stockpiled ammunition in his vehicle. Deputy Sheriff Dwayne Hamm and Red Level Police Chief, Howard West was dispatched to the Red Level home to conduct a welfare check on the wife and family.

An officer made contact with Thomas Finley at a home located on Gorum Bridge Road, Red Level. Thomas Finley was armed with a rifle and demanded for his wife to come outside. Mr. Finley disobeyed all verbal commands and the officer discharged two rounds. Mr. Finley fled the scene in a white Kia Optima and a high-speed vehicle pursuit was initiated. Covington County Sheriff’s Deputies and Investigators pursued the vehicle from Gorum Bridge Road and Highway 55 to Highway 84 West near the Conecuh County line. During the pursuit, Mr. Finley threw three long guns from the vehicle at speeds in excess of 100mph. The vehicle pursuit ended peaceably when Thomas Finley stopped his vehicle and surrendered to Covington County Deputies. Thomas Finley Is currently in the Covington County Jail for Felony Fleeing and Eluding, and Fugitive from Justice on the charges stemming from Florida.

Sheriff Blake Turman had this to say:

This incident had all the ingredients for a very bad outcome. Thomas Finley made it very clear of what his intentions were when he shot at his wife in Florida and tracked her down in Red Level. It was apparent that he had no regard for human life, and we were determined to keep him out of the more crowded, incorporated areas of Covington County. I’m glad the chase ended peaceably, and credit goes to the officers who kept public safety a priority.