MEDINA, Ohio — A Medina County judge sentenced Dante Tate to 24 months in prison for his role in the deadly pursuit that killed Bluffton officer Dominic Francis earlier this year.
Last month, the 19-year-old Tate entered a pair of guilty pleas in Medina County Common Pleas Court related to the incident. After previously pleading not guilty to both charges following his March 31 arrest in Elyria, Tate pleaded guilty to charges of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and receiving stolen property.
A Medina County judge sentenced Tate to 24 months for the charge of failure to comply and one year for receiving stolen property. The two sentences will run concurrently.
The failure to comply charge had carried a maximum prison sentence of 36 months, while the receiving stolen property charge carried a maximum prison sentence of 18 months.
"I take full responsibility for what I did," Tate told the judge ahead of his sentencing. "I didn't do it because of arrogance for the law. I wasn't the one who struck the officer. I just didn't know what could have happened... I felt like I was surviving. I was just trying to get home to my family. It's still not right that an officer was killed even though I didn't do it. Because he could have saved me on any other day from something that could have been happening to me... I should have never been with those people in the first place... I'm sorry for what happened."
Two others -- 21-year-old Zachary Love and 20-year-old Emin Johnson -- were taken into custody in Northwest Ohio after officer Francis was struck and killed while attempting to deploy stop sticks amid the pursuit along I-75.
Officer Francis was laid to rest on April 8 in Bluffton. His family was presented the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart in his honor during the funeral.
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