Bond set at $1M for driver accused in trooper’s death

TUPELO – A $1 million bond was set Monday for William Francis of Baldwyn, accused in the death of a Mississippi state trooper during a high-speed chase.
Francis, 25, made an initial appearance before Lee County Justice Court Judge Pat Carr and will remain in the Lee County Jail while his attorney, Anthony Farese of Ashland, seeks a hearing on bond reduction.
Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Steve Hood, 50, was pronounced dead about 6 p.m. Friday. He was killed after his vehicle left Highway 370 near Brice’s Crossroads west of Baldwyn as he chased Francis’ Pontiac Trans-Am.
Shortly after midnight Friday, Francis was charged with felony fleeing and manslaughter.
Patrol Sgt. H.L. Kitchens said Hood’s vehicle flipped several times. His body was taken to Jackson for autopsy.
Patrol Col. Mike Berthay said Hood, a 28-year veteran of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, allegedly saw a vehicle traveling in excess of 100 mph and chased it. The trooper’s vehicle flipped as the cars neared the crossroads intersection.
Three other people, reportedly passengers in Francis’ car, are under investigation.
Farese, who was in Greenville for another client’s hearing, said he expects to formally request a bond reduction soon.
Hood is the first MHP trooper killed in the line of duty since 1999.
His funeral and burial were Monday afternoon from Harrisburg Baptist Church.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal