LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Dramatic video shows the final minutes of a pursuit, as officers chase the driver of a car they believe is connected to the death of a Bluffton police officer.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol released the video, which recorded part of the multi-county chase that ended in Lorain County.
Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis had been struck and killed early Thursday morning by an Infiniti sedan with three men inside, about 160 miles southwest of Cleveland.
At least one of the three suspects stole a silver Toyota Prius which state troopers spotted and began to chase in Northeast Ohio.
“He can’t run anywhere… If we pin him, we can pin him into the wall,” says one of the troopers during the chase.
The video begins just before 8 a.m. last Thursday. Ohio State troopers spot a silver Toyota Prius on Interstate 71 northbound in Medina County, that had been reported stolen in Hancock County five hours earlier.
Troopers pursue the vehicle, with speeds quickly reaching 87 miles an hour.
Earlier, around 2 a.m., troopers near Marion and Findlay had tried to pull over a speeding Infiniti Sedan. When the car got onto I-75, Bluffton police officer Dominic Francis threw out stop sticks to slow it down, but the car struck and killed the officer and kept going.
Police say three suspects ditched the car and at least one of them stole the Prius later located on I-71.
A trooper tries to take out the Prius on 71, but hits a ditch as the car keeps going. Speeds increase and the Prius enters Cuyahoga County.
“Take him out, take him out,” one trooper is heard on the police radio.
The driver continues eluding troopers, crossing into the southbound lanes of 71 and exiting onto Route 82 into Strongsville.
“We’re on 82, permission to continue pursuit, heavy traffic on 82,” said one trooper.
“Go ahead with it,” responds someone who appears to be a supervisor. “We need to continue the pursuit until aviation gets there. Any opportunity to PIT, you need to take it.”
Traffic ranged from heavy to light as the chase headed into Lorain County and onto a two-lane road.
“82 westbound, 100 mile an hour,” announces one trooper.
“Take him out, Jones,” says another trooper.
One trooper tries a PIT maneuver, but the Prius spins a full 360 degrees and keeps going. Another trooper gives it a try, but can’t stop the driver.
The stolen Prius crosses over, travelling north in the southbound lanes of Route 57. About 25 minutes into the chase, the driver is stopped by state troopers and Lorain County deputies near Route 57 and Chestnut Ridge Road in Elyria.
“We’re getting him out by gunpoint,” says a trooper.
Investigators believe Dante Tate, of Euclid, was driving the Prius. All three suspects are behind bars, including Emin Johnson, also of Euclid, and Zachary Love, of Columbus.
Tate is charged with receiving stolen property as well as fleeing and eluding. Johnson is charged with involuntary manslaughter and Love is charged with receiving stolen property.
Tate is being held in the Medina County Jail. The other two are being held in the Hancock County Jail.