Driver Who Struck And Killed Officer Francis Pleads Guilty, Is Sentenced

The man who was driving the stolen vehicle that struck and killed Bluffton Police Officer Dominic Francis in March of 2022 changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced.

Emin Johnson pleaded guilty to six charges, including tampering with evidence and involuntary manslaughter, in Hancock County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson, 21, was sentenced to 21 to 26 ½ years in prison.

Two passengers in the vehicle, Dante Tate and Zachary Love, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced.

Authorities say the three were in a stolen car that was fleeing from police on Interstate 75 southbound around 2:30 a.m. on March 31st 2022 that struck and killed officer Francis, who was placing stop sticks on the highway in an effort to end the pursuit.

Officer Francis’ widow, Ricki Francis, spoke before Johnson was sentenced about how much Dom meant to their family and the community.

“Dom was my best friend. My soulmate, my partner in everything and the best person I’ve ever met in my life.”

She also forgave Johnson, saying that’s what Dominic would’ve done.

“Dom was always about second chances. Forgiveness was important to him, and I. I forgive you, and Dom would forgive you.”

Donations can be made in Dom’s honor to the Dominic Francis Memorial Scholarships through The Findlay Hancock Community Foundation.