Passenger In Car That Struck And Killed Bluffton Officer Pleads Guilty

One of the three men arrested in connection with the death of Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis in March of 2022 agreed to a plea deal with the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office.

Dante Tate pleaded guilty to two felony counts of receiving stolen property, while counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle and improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle were dismissed.

Tate, 19, was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison on the two felony charges.

He will serve that sentence after he completes the two-year sentence he received in Medina County where he was apprehended in a car he stole after the stolen car he was a passenger in struck Officer Francis on Interstate 75 in Bluffton.

Court records show the man police believe was driving the car, Emin Johnson, has a trial date set for April 24th in Hancock County Common Pleas Court. He’s facing charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter, among others.

A backseat passenger, Zachary Love, has a pretrial hearing set for March 3rd.

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 of 2022 that struck and killed Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis, who was placing stop sticks on the highway in an effort to end the pursuit.

The Fort Findlay FOP Lodge 20 Foundation previously established an official fundraising drive authorized by the family of officer Dominic Francis.

Donations can be made now to the Dominic Francis Memorial scholarships thru The Findlay Hancock Community Foundation.