MANATEE COUNTY – Manatee County Sheriff’s deputy Willie Finklea is honored by Governor Rick Scott for saving a couple’s life when he was off duty.

Finklea  was awarded the Governor’s Medal Wednesday, December 6, in Tallahassee for his actions on August 8th when he spotted a vehicle on the side of a road with smoke billowing from it. He was off duty at the time and riding his motorcycle on Moccasin Wallow Road.

He stopped and realized the people inside the car, neil cook , and his wife, claudia were trapped.

He shot out a back window, kicked it in, and helped the couple climb out to safety just before the car was engulfed in flames.