Bluffton Police Officer Dominic Francis was deploying stop sticks in an effort to end a chase when he was struck and killed by the fleeing vehicle.
An Ohio police officer was killed when he was struck by a suspect’s vehicle during a chase early Thursday.
The incident began at about 2 a.m. in Hancock County when a car traveling over 100 mph wouldn’t stop for authorities, WKYC-TV reports. Bluffton Police Officer Dominic Francis had been deployed ahead of the vehicle on Interstate 75 to set up stop sticks. Francis was struck and killed while deploying the sticks.
Three suspects in the car exited the vehicle and fled on foot following the crash. Police received a report of a stolen Toyota Prius and began searching for that vehicle.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper spotted the Prius in Elyria and began pursuit. The chase ended in a crash, and two suspects eventually were taken into custody. The third suspect is still at large.
“This community lost a hero,” said Bluffton Police Chief Ryan Burkholder about Francis. “He is an outstanding police officer. His heart was big. Not only was he a police officer, he was a school teacher. He was a bus driver. He was a coach to the youth in this community. He had a heart of gold.”