A Bluffton, OH, police officer was killed early Thursday while deploying spikes during a vehicle pursuit that involved multiple law enforcement agencies. .
Trooper Brice Nihiser of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the pursuit involved a black Infiniti sedan that was speeding on U.S. Route 23 in Marion County around 2 a.m. Troopers were unable to catch up to the vehicle, which was then spotted in Hancock County around 2:15 a.m., getting onto Interstate 75 southbound. Three people were in it at the time, Nihiser said, and a chase ensued.
Around 2:30 a.m., Bluffton police Officer Dominic Francis was laying out spikes when he was struck by the car, Nihiser said. Francis, 42, later died of his injuries, the Chronicle reports.
Francis had been with Bluffton police for nine years, Chief Ryan Burkholder said, three as a part-time officer and six as a full-time one. He had been named officer of the year for the department in 2018.
Francis had a wife and two children, WTOL reports.
The Infiniti was abandoned, and a Toyota Prius was stolen from a home in Hancock County, Nihiser said. One person was arrested near the site of the theft.
A state trooper spotted the Prius on Interstate 71. Multiple agencies pursued the vehicle, with speeds exceeding 100 mph during the pursuit, and reaching 120 to 130 mph, Nihiser said.
The Prius went off the right side of Route 57 around 8:20 a.m. Thursday. One person was taken into custody by troopers.