Three men indicted in the murder of an officer who police say they hit with a car and left for dead

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HANCOCK COUNTY, OH – A Bluffton, Ohio police officer is dead after a high-speed chase on I-75 on March 31.

Officer Dominic Francis was setting up stop sticks when he was hit by a fleeing motorist. Ohio State Police were pursuing the vehicle, alleged to have been driven by Emin Johnson, at speeds between 120 and 130 miles per hour.

Now, he and two other men have been indicted in Officer Francis’ death.

Dante Tate, 19, 21-year-old Zachary Love and 20-year-old Johnson, were originally spotted by state troopers driving at high speeds in a black Infinity sedan. State police were unable to catch up to the speeding vehicle, but it was spotted by another trooper about 20 minutes later, and the chase was on.

After striking Francis, they continued to drive for a short distance before ditching the car and fleeing on foot.

One of the men was located nearby and arrested. Another stole a car and made it all the way to Elyria, which is about 100 miles from Bluffton.

The third suspect eluded authorities for hours before finally being taken into custody.

The search shut down sections of I-75 as law enforcement searched farms, barns and around houses. Schools cancelled classes and a local college advised staff and students to stay home until they received an “all clear” notification.

According to WTVG, Johnson and Love are being held at the Hancock County Justice Center, while Tate is at the Medina County Jail.

Johnson faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter, failure to comply with police and receiving stolen property. His bond has been set at $500,000.

He has pleaded not guilty aggravated vehicular homicide.

Love is being held on $100,000 for counts of receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability.

Tate, who is charged with receiving stolen property, fleeing and eluding, had his bond set at $350,000.

“A hero has died, and a community is shaken,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. “The bravery of the men and women that wear the badge is astounding. Officer Francis’ valor will live on and never be forgotten.”

According to Police Chief Ryan Burkholder, Francis’ death was the first line of duty death for the department since the 1920s.

“Today is a sad day. This community lost a hero,” Burkholder said. “He is an outstanding police officer. His heart was big.”

Governor Mike DeWine order flags at the capitol and in Allen and Hancock Counties to be lowered to half-staff until sunset the day of his burial.

42-year-old Francis was a 19-year veteran, who leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Francis as well as his department in Bluffton.

Three men indicted in the murder of an officer who police say they hit with a car and left for dead

Fallen heroes: Two Pennsylvania State Troopers killed while responding to a call, pedestrian also dead

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – During a crash on Interstate 95 early Monday morning in South Philadelphia, two Pennsylvania state troopers and a pedestrian were killed.

Police say 33-year-old Martin F. Mack II and 29-year-old Branden T. Sisca were the crash victims. The pedestrian’s identity has not yet been released.

The state police reported troopers Mack and Sisca were responding to a call of a man who was walking on I-95.

While assisting the man into the cruiser, a female driver tried to speed past the scene. The driver fatally struck both troopers, the pedestrian and the cruiser.

When state police dispatch attempted to make contact with the two troopers, they did not receive a response. This prompted dispatch to send backup to the scene.

Both troopers were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police on the scene, the force was so profound it threw the troopers into the northbound lanes. The driver did not flee the scene.

A DUI investigation is underway. Currently, no charges have been filed against the female driver.

Trooper Mack was a graduate of the 141st cadet class and had been part of the force since November 2014.

Trooper Sica graduated as a member of the 161st cadet class and was on the force since February 2021.

Trooper Sica was also a fire chief in Trappe, Montgomery County. He is Deputy Craig Sisca’s son, who is a 10-year veteran of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Both troopers were assigned to the Patrol Section of Troop K, Philadelphia for the duration of their careers.

Trappe Fire Company No. 1 posted on their website saying,

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that Trappe Fire Company No.1 announces the passing of Fire Chief Branden Sisca.

Chief Sisca was tragically killed in a motor vehicle crash earlier today while working as a Pennsylvania State Police trooper.

More details will be released following an investigation by PSP.

Right now we ask that you give his family and the family at Trappe Fire Company time to process the loss of an incredible person.

Keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers.”

Trappe Deputy Fire Chief John Bolger commented saying,

“Our hearts go out to Branden and his family in particular. We are also grieving and send our prayers and thoughts of Trooper Mack.”

Philadelphia State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchick said,

“Our department is heartbroken with the tragedy that occurred early this morning in Philadelphia.

We ask our fellow Pennsylvanians to keep the families of our troopers and the pedestrian in their thoughts.

This is an extremely difficult time.”

A police procession that included 25 cruisers and motorcycles accompanied the troopers’ bodies from the crash site to the medical examiner’s office.

The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association made a statement saying,

“Trooper Martin Mack and Branden Sisca died serving the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

They are heroes, who will forever be honored by all those who recite the Pennsylvania State Police Call of Honor and serve as a Pennsylvania State Trooper.

Our hearts, love and prayers go out to their loved ones.

The PSTA will be there for them during this difficult time.

We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the pedestrian who was killed in this tragedy.”

Since both troopers were organ donors, their organs have been donated to the Gift of Life Program.

In honor of troopers Mack and Sica, Governor Wolf ordered all Pennsylvania state facilities, grounds, and public building flags be flown at half-staff.

According to the Governor’s website,

“The commonwealth flag shall be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Friday, March 25, 2022, as well as on the day(s) of their funerals which have not yet been announced.

The United States flag is to remain at full-staff through this tribute.”

Governor Wolf said,

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy that occurred while these troopers were protecting and serving.

This mournful incident is a stark reminder of the risks – and sacrifices – our law enforcement officers undertake every day to keep us safe.

My heart goes out to their families and the communities they lived in and served.”

The Pennsylvania State Trooper Association is warning residents of solicitors attempting to raise money for the families of troopers Mack and Sisca.

PSTA President David Kennedy said,

“It’s disgusting to even have to issue this statement, but our members and others are reporting to us that they’re receiving phone calls from people alleging to represent law enforcement organizations that are raising money to benefit the families of our fallen brothers.

“The public should not make donations or provide personal information to these callers. The PSTA is the only official organization that represents and serves Pennsylvania state troopers, and we do not use telephone solicitation for fundraising.”

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Officer with just three months on the force killed while helping citizen who crashed car

KNIGHTDALE, NC- According to reports, a Knightdale police officer died during a car crash along Interstate 540 on the morning of October 27th.

 

The incident happened at approximately 2:40 a.m. on eastbound Interstate 540 close to the Buffaloe Road exit. Authorities stated that officers, including 23-year-old Ryan Hayworth, were investigating a single-car crash in the area when another car crashed into the back of the officers’ patrol vehicle.

Hayworth, a three-month veteran of the force and a former member of the United States Army, was killed in the collision. He is the oldest son of retired Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth.

The other officer with Hayworth, Officer Cody Hagler, was seriously injured. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. In a press release shared on Facebook, the Knightdale Police Department (KPD) detailed the incident in a press release.

Chief Lawrence Capps stated:

“Ryan’s loss is an indescribable tragedy for our department and our community. The pain of his death felt the most by his family, friends, and those who knew him best. As we begin the process of healing, we ask that you join us in season of prayer for all of those who have been forever touched by this heartbreaking event.”

 

The driver involved in the initial crash and the driver who crashed into the two officers were both seriously hurt. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is currently investigating the crashes.

Troopers noted that alcohol was believed to be involved in the crash that Killed Hayworth and injured Hagler.

Final charges are pending, awaiting the conclusion of the investigation. Troopers stated that 40-year-old Dedric Privetee was behind the wheel of a Mercedes at the time and is responsible for the crash that caused Hayworth’s death. Chief Capps stated:

“There’s never been an individual who exemplified that value alignment the way that Ryan did. From the moment that we first interacted we knew that there was something that was extraordinary about this young man.

We knew through his service to this country that he was already deeply committed to people- to serving a cause and a purpose that was much bigger than himself.”

 

In a subsequent post, the department told residents area police departments would be providing assistance. The post stated:

“As we continue to process this tragedy, other area Police Departments are providing us a helping hand. Be advised that you may see units from surrounding jurisdictions assisting with patrols in Knightdale.”

 

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office expressed its condolences. In a Facebook post, the department stated:

“Our agency has experienced the same emotions that they are right now and we understand their hurt. Please continue to pray from them during this difficult time and in the days to come for which they will have to endure.”

On Monday, October 18th, a procession of police officers and firefighters from across the Triangle escorted the body of Hayworth back home to Knightdale. The NC State Bureau of Investigation tweeted:

“We send our deepest condolences to the Knightdale Police Department and the family and friends of Officer Ryan Hayworth who was killed in a crash early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

 

 

On Monday, October 18th, a steady stream of people from the community wanting to pay their respects, dropped by the police department to place flowers on top of a patrol car parked out front in memory of Hayworth.

One of those who stopped by was Matthew Hannon, a childhood friend of Hayworth’s who drove from Greensboro when he got the news. He said:

“Ryan was a type of man who cared deeply about those around him. He’s always sort of had the community service blood in him.”

The Knightdale Police Department is planning a vigil for Hayworth and is expected to announce details on Tuesday, October 19th.

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