Passengers won’t be charged in trooper’s death

TUPELO – No charges are planned against the three passengers in the car with the man accused in the death of a highway patrolman.
The trio, whose names aren’t being released, reportedly were with William Francis of Baldwyn, 25, when he allegedly led a high-speed chase in an attempt to evade Master Sgt. Steve Hood of Guntown.
During the Friday night chase, Hood’s car flipped several times on Highway 370 near Baldwyn. MHP Sgt. H.L. Kitchens said the three men were only passengers in the vehicle and will not face charges.
Francis is being charged with felony evading an officer and manslaughter.
Patrol Col. Mike Berthay said Hood, a 28-year veteran of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, reported seeing a vehicle traveling in excess of 100 mph and chased it.
The trooper’s vehicle flipped as the cars neared the crossroads intersection.
Francis’ bond was set at $1 million Monday and he remains in the Lee County Jail. His attorney, Anthony Farese of Ashland, seeks a hearing on a bond reduction.
Other details into the investigation have not been released.
Hood was buried Monday in Tupelo in a service that drew fellow troopers from Mississippi and nearby states.

Contact Danza Johnson at 662.678.1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal