3 Face Charges After Death of Officer Hit During I-75 Chase | Ohio News


BLUFFTON, Ohio (AP) — One man has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and two more face other counts following the death of a police officer struck and killed by a fleeing car on an Ohio interstate during a high-speed chase through multiple counties, authorities said.

Authorities said 20-year-old Emin Johnson of Euclid is charged with involuntary manslaughter, and he and 21-year-old Zachary Love of Columbus and 19-year-old Dante Tate of Euclid face counts including receiving stolen property. It’s unclear whether the defendants have attorneys; listed numbers for them couldn’t be found Saturday.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said Officer Dominic Francis of the Bluffton police department was struck around 2:30 a.m. Thursday on I-75 while he was setting up stop sticks, which flatten tires, to try to end the chase that had reached speeds up to 120 mph (193 kph).

The chase first began near Marion when authorities saw the car going more than 100 mph (161 kph), Sgt. Brice Nihiser of the highway patrol said.

Francis, 42, had been an officer in Bluffton the past nine years and had “a heart of gold,” said Police Chief Ryan Burkholder. He also worked as a school teacher, bus driver and as a football and softball coach with Cory-Rawson schools.

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Bluffton University, in announcing a prayer vigil Friday, said Francis had responded to a fire alarm in a residence hall. Students reported that after the building was cleared “he held the door for each student so they could return safely inside,” the university said.

“He was known as a kind and caring officer amongst our students, and he greatly impacted their lives,” adding that all would “miss seeing him on campus.”

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