FINDLAY, OH - Bluffton Police officer Dominic Francis was killed in the line of duty on Thursday morning. The Ohio Highway Patrol says Francis was deploying stop sticks along I-75 near exit 142 to help end a high speed chase that started in Hancock County. He was fatally struck by the suspect's vehicle around 2:30 a.m. Officer Francis is being remembered as a police officer, a husband, a father, a teacher, a coach, and more.
Three suspects are in custody; one was arrested near the scene, one was arrested in Elyria and it's unknown at this time where the third suspect was arrested.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered flags to fly at half-staff until the day of Officer Francis' funeral.
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Below is the official press release from the Ohio Highway Patrol.
FINDLAY – The Ohio State Highway Patrol has the third suspect in custody following a multi-county incident this morning in which a Bluffton Police Department officer was killed. Additional information will be forthcoming.
The incident began at approximately 2 a.m. when troopers from the Marion Patrol Post observed a dark-colored sedan traveling at a high rate of speed on state Route 23 northbound, but were unable to make contact with the vehicle.
A Findlay Post trooper then identified the vehicle as a black Infiniti sedan at approximately 2:20 a.m. on state Route 15 in Hancock County. The suspect vehicle continued to flee on state Route 15 and then onto Interstate 75 southbound.
At 2:30 a.m., on Interstate 75, near exit 142, Officer Dominic Francis, 42, Bluffton Police Department, was attempting to deploy stop sticks and was struck by the fleeing vehicle. Officer Francis subsequently succumbed to his injuries from the crash.
Three suspects fled on foot east from the Infiniti sedan. At approximately 3 a.m., a gray 2010 Toyota Prius was stolen from a residence on County Road 29 in Hancock County. One of the suspects was taken into custody in the neighboring proximity of the residence from where the Prius was stolen.
The Toyota Prius was then located by a trooper from the Medina Post on Interstate 71 near milepost 208 in Medina County. The vehicle continued to flee on westbound state Route 82. One suspect was ultimately taken into custody from the Prius at approximately 8:15 a.m. after a traffic stop at state Route 57 and Chestnut Ridge Rd. in the city of Elyria.
The Patrol is partnering with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Bluffton Police Department, and other law enforcement partners.
The Patrol wants to reiterate its appreciation of all agencies involved in the ongoing investigation, as well as resources deployed.