Trial set for man who shot at police during 2022 chase

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Knotts, of Pedro, will be tried July 13 in Kentucky

GREENUP, Ky. — A man who is accused of shooting at police during a chase from Lucasville to South Shore, Kentucky, in January 2022, will be facing charges from that in Greenup County Circuit Court on July 13.

John Knotts, 35, of Pedro, is being tried in the Greenup County Circuit court on charges  of two counts of attempted murder, importing heroin, trafficking in a controlled substance, wanton endangerment, fleeing or evading the police possession, use of radio that sends and receives police messages, trafficking in marijuana (less than 8 ounces) and being a convicted felon in possession of a hand gun.

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He has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced for similar charges in a Scioto County for the Ohio portion of the chase and also been sentenced in a federal court for robbing an Ashland, Kentucky, bank.

The cases began on Jan. 29, 2022, after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers tried to pull over a black Dodge Charger, driven by Amanda Ann Cochran, 31, of Ironton, near Lucasville because of illegible license plates.

Instead of cooperating, Cochran took off and the troopers pursued, getting additional support from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department and the Portsmouth Police Department as the chase went through Portsmouth.

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 car fired a shot at him.

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

PPD Capt. Jason Hendrick said an officer fired a rifle, later identified as an AR-15 in court records, through the windshield of his car and glass and shrapnel hit Cochran.

The pursuit came to an end when a Portsmouth Police officer used his cruiser to force the Charger off the roadway on 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.

The KSP investigation found Cochran had three active warrants in Kentucky and Ohio at the time of the attempted traffic stop. She was taken to a hospital for the treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Knotts was taken to the Greenup County Detention Center for and charged with two counts of convicted felon in possession of a handgun, possession of a controlled substance first degree (methamphetamine), trafficking in controlled substance first degree (methamphetamine), importing heroin, trafficking in controlled substance (heroin), possession of controlled substance first degree (heroin), trafficking in marijuana first degree felony and drug paraphernalia. 

During a search of the car, officers found a gray camo Smith&Wesson .380 gun and evidence tying Knotts to the PNC Bank in Ashland, Kentucky on Jan. 9, 2022.

On Jan. 30, 2022, the Ashland Police charged Knotts with warrants for robbery and receiving stolen property, for the robbery. In October 2022, Knotts was sentenced in U.S. District Court to eight years for drug charges and 13 years for the bank robbery.

Knotts and Cochran were indicted in Scioto County for crimes related to the chase. In February, Cochran was sentenced to a combined sentence of 20-23 years on three counts of attempted murder and one count of failure to comply. 

Knotts plead guilty to three counts of attempted murder and one count of having a weapon under disability and was sentenced to 25-29 years.

He is currently being held at the Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe.