Man gets 25 years for shooting at police

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

Driver of van was from woman from Ironton

PORTSMOUTH — A man who was part of a 2020 police chase that involved high speeds and firing guns at police officers was sentenced on Thursday.

John Clifton Thomas Knotts, 36 of Pedro, was in a van driven by Amanda Ann Cochran, 33, of Ironton, on Jan. 29, 2020, when the vehicle was stopped by Ohio State Patrol troopers in Lucasville for having an illegible and obstructed license plate.

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The driver fled the scene and as when the OSHP followed, shots were fired at troopers.

The Portsmouth Police Department joined the pursuit and when a police officer put down stop sticks near Kinneys Lane in Portsmouth, the car swerved towards the officer and someone in the van fired a shot at him.

The pursuit then went into Kentucky and shots were fired again at the officers.

PPD Captain Jason Hendrick said an officer fired a rifle using frangible rounds through the windshield of his car and hit Cochran.

The pursuit came to an end when the PPD conducted a pit maneuver to force the vehicle from the roadway of U.S. 23 between the bridge and South Shore, Kentucky, at which time the driver and passenger were taken into custody without further incident. No officers were injured during the chase.

Several guns and methamphetamine were seized.

The KSP investigation found Cochran had three active warrants in Kentucky and Ohio at the time of the attempted traffic stop.

Cochran was airlifted from the scene, and taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia, for the treatment of non-life threatening injuries. She was later extradited back to Scioto County.

Cochran had outstanding warrants, one from Boyd County, Kentucky for contempt of court and one from Lawrence County, where she has a warrant for failure to appear in court.

Cochran was indicted in Lawrence County in July 2018 on charges of having a weapon under disability (which means that she was on probation and not allowed to have a gun), identity theft and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. At the time of her indictment, her address was given as Panama Beach, Florida.

In July 2022, Cochran was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer. She was sentenced to 20-23 years in prison, minus the 779 days she spent in jail.

On Thursday, Knotts entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced by Scioto Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha on three counts of attempted murder and one count of having a weapon while under disability.

Knots was sentenced to 25-29 years.

The pair still has to face charges in Kentucky.

Knotts is accused of robbing a PNC Bank in Ashland, Kentucky, allegedly with Cochran’s father, Willis C. Cochran, and distributing methamphetamine. He is also accused of stealing the van used in the chase.

Cochran is also accused of distributing methamphetamine.