Off-duty deputy pulls woman from Sunshine Skyway Bridge ledge

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 09, 2016

An off-duty Pinellas County Sheriff's deputy pulled a woman off the ledge of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Monday, potentially saving her life.

  • Corporal Howard Finley a Pinellas court processing deputy
  • Finley noticed woman on the bridge on his way home from work
  • Woman was taken into protective custody, Baker Acted

Corporal Howard Finley, a court processing deputy with more than 28 years in the agency, was driving home from work when he noticed a car parked on the roadway at the top of the bridge.
 
"If I had been looking to the left at a disabled vehicle on the other side and wouldn't have looked to my right, I might have driven right by," said Finley.
 
He got out of his car and noticed a woman sitting on the ledge with her legs dangling over the water.
 
"And she was rocking back and forth and she had her hands over her face, crying," said Finley. "She would open her hands every once in awhile and look down at the water. I think she was trying to get up the courage to jump."
 
Finley approached the woman, grabbed her and pulled her off the ledge. He detained the woman until help could arrive.
 
"I was just at the right place at the right time."
 
The 52-year-old woman was taken into protective custody and Baker acted.
 
Fellow deputies, meanwhile, are calling Finley a hero.
 
"People keep telling me that," he said. "I did what I had to and that's not why I did it. Not to be a hero. It was just the right thing to do."