The chase first began near Marion when authorities saw the car going more than 100 mph and continued across several counties, Nihiser said.
Francis, 42, had been an officer in Bluffton the past nine years, said Police Chief Ryan Burkholder. He also worked as a school teacher, bus driver and as a football and softball coach with Cory-Rawson schools.
“He had a heart of gold,” Burkholder said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout Allen and Hancock counties and the Ohio Statehouse through sunset on the day of his funeral.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost extended sympathy to the officer’s loved ones and the community and issued a statement: “A hero has died and a community is shaken. The bravery of the men and women that wear the badge is astounding. Officer Francis’ valor will live on and never be forgotten.”