MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — Thursday's capture of the suspects wanted for the death of Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis involved multiple law enforcement agencies over a widespread area of Northern Ohio.
One of the suspects, 19-year-old Dante Tate, allegedly fled Hancock County in a stolen Toyota Prius and headed east. The Prius was located by a trooper on I-71 in Medina County and Tate was eventually captured in Elyria.
The Brunswick Hills Police Department took part in the pursuit and capture of Tate and have provided bodycam video of the chase. According to Chief Tim Sopkovich, Sgt. Jim Sanford and Ptl. Wayne Fisher played "a vital part" in the apprehension of Tate.
The video shows the use of a "PIT manuever," which forced the Prius to lose control and spin off of Route 57. The Brunswick Hills officers were able to get the suspect to come out of the vehicle when it was off the road.
"Sgt. Jim Sanford and Ptl. Wayne Fisher exhibited the highest degree of common sense with sound professional judgement that affectively ended the pursuit successful. Thanks to their quick actions they were able to mitigate any further injuries or harm to the public and pursuing officers. The suspect was quickly apprehended with no further incidents," Chief Sopkovich wrote in a Facebook post.
The incident began at around 2 a.m. Thursday when Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers observed a dark-colored Infiniti sedan traveling at a high rate of speed on U.S. Route 23 northbound. That vehicle was then seen approximately 20 minutes later on Route 15 in Hancock County before traveling to I-75 South.
At 2:30 a.m., Officer Francis was trying to deploy stop sticks and was struck by the fleeing vehicle on I-75 near exit 142. He died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash. The suspects fled the area on foot. While Tate was taken in Elyria and is currently behing held at the Medina County Jail, 20-year-old Emin Johnson and 21-year-old Zachary Love are incarcerated at the Hancock County Justice Center.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ofc. Dominic Francis and the entire Bluffton community. Rest in Peace Officer Francis, we thank you for your service and will never forget you," added Chief Sopkovich.
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