Fla. man arrested in Ala. following high-speed chase

Fla. man arrested in Ala. following high-speed chase
Thomas Finley is charged with felony fleeing and eluding, and fugitive from justice on charges stemming from Florida. (Source: Covington County Sheriff's Office)

COVINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - An armed and dangerous Florida man was taken into custody in Alabama Friday following a high-speed chase.

According to the Covington County Sheriff Blake Turman, the sheriff’s office received a tip from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida Friday afternoon about an armed and dangerous suspect.

The tip said Florida deputies reportedly responded to a North Okaloosa Florida residence after receiving a 911 call about a domestic violence incident. According to Okaloosa County investigators, Thomas Lee Finley, age 40, allegedly fired a gunshot(s) at his wife as she arrived in the driveway of their Baker, Fla., home. The wife escaped without injury but their home was set on fire allegedly by Finley.

Through information sharing, Florida deputies found out Finley was potentially en route to a Red Level, Ala., address where his wife had sought safety with her family. Okaloosa County provided a detailed vehicle description and later updated responding officers that Finley had obtained multiple weapons and stockpiled ammunition in his vehicle.

Covington County Deputy Sheriff Dwayne Hamm and Red Level Police Chief Howard West were dispatched to the Red Level home to conduct a welfare check on the wife and family. An officer made contact with Finley at a home located on Gorum Bridge Road in Red Level. Finley was allegedly armed with a rifle and demanded his wife to come outside the residence. The Covington County Sheriff’s Office says Finley disobeyed all verbal commands by the officer and the officer discharged two rounds of ammunition.

The sheriff’s office says Finley then fled 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 Alabama Highway 55 to US Highway 84 West near the Conecuh County line. During the pursuit, a pursuit in which deputies say Finley exceeded 100mph, Finley allegedly tossed three long guns from the vehicle.

The vehicle pursuit ended when Finley stopped his vehicle and surrendered to Covington County deputies. He is currently being held in the Covington County Jail and is charged with eluding law enforcement, and fugitive from justice on the charges stemming from Florida.

“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 peacefully and credit goes to the officers who kept public safety a priority,” said Turman.

The Covington County Sheriff’s Office confirms no one was injured in the chase.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.