‘God’s angel’: Family praises homeless vet for saving man’s life after crash

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A homeless Army veteran in Pensacola is being called a hero by many after pulling a man from a burning SUV last week.

Freddie Finkley, 56, is credited for saving 34-year-old Eric Lopez, who was involved in a head-on collision last Wednesday at Cervantes Street and Haynes Street in Pensacola.

For Finkley, it was just another day of good deeds. He said he’s been homeless in Pensacola for at least a half decade, and he’s always helping people when he can.

“It’s just me. It’s just my nature. I’m not like everybody else,” Finkley said.

Finkley saw the fiery crash and took swift action, saving the Lopez’s life.

“I ran down there and flames started coming through the dashboard. I went in there and I tried,” Finkley said. “He said, ‘Leave me.’ I said, ‘I can’t leave you. You’ll burn up.’ So I pried his hands loose from the steering wheel. This other guy came, and we picked him up and toted him up the bridge.”

WKRG News 5 was there as Finkley met Lopez’s grandmother for the first time. She flagged Finkley down from his normal spot under the I-110 overpass on Cervantes.

“Anybody who would do that has to be a really good-hearted person,” Sandra McFall said.

Looking to Finkley, McFall thanked him repeatedly for his actions.

“You’re truly God’s angel,” she said. “I praise God that you were here because you saved my grandson and that means everything to me.”

McCall said Lopez is doing better. He’s still dealing with bruising and lung issues since the crash. But it could have been a lot worse, McCall said.

Finkley said he was happy to help, but he won’t take all the credit. He said it was like divine intervention.

“The good Lord. God,” he said. “That one man put me there.”

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