First Responders

Indiana Woman Hit With Max Sentence for Shooting Trooper

July 18, 2022Carl Prine
Tiffany Miller, 38, of Kendallville, Indiana, was sentenced Thursday, July 14, 2022, to 240 months (20 years) in federal prison, by US District Judge Robert Wier, for possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Tiffany Miller, 38, of Kendallville, Indiana, was sentenced Thursday, July 14, 2022, to 240 months (20 years) in federal prison, by US District Judge Robert Wier, for possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

An Indiana woman who got high on meth, stole a truck and revolver, and then shot the Kentucky State Police trooper who pursued her, got slapped with the max federal sentence.

On Thursday, July 14, in Lexington, US District Judge Robert E. Wier sentenced Tiffany Renee Miller to 20 years behind bars and three years of supervised release when she exits a federal penitentiary.

He also ordered her to undergo addiction therapy in prison and pay $17,313.76 in restitution for damage to the stolen truck.

In a plea agreement, Miller, 38, inked with federal prosecutors on Feb. 22, she confessed to being a convicted felon in possession of a stolen firearm. In exchange for her plea, authorities dropped one count of being a narcotics user who possessed a firearm, but the judge didn’t budge on her sentence.

“Ms. Miller is extremely remorseful with what happened,” her attorney, Noah Robert Friend, said. “She understands that she was going to be punished and that she was going to do time.”

Indiana woman

Tiffany Miller, 38, of Kendallville, Indiana, was sentenced Thursday, July 14, 2022, to 240 months in federal prison, by US District Judge Robert Wier, for possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Coffee or Die Magazine composite.

Friend told Coffee or Die Magazine no decision had been made on whether Miller would appeal the sentence.

Jail records indicate Miller remains incarcerated in Kentucky’s Pike County Detention Center. She also faces felony charges in Kentucky state court for attempted murder of a police officer and wanton endangerment.

If convicted, she will serve her sentence concurrently with the federal punishment.

Miller’s long rap sheet includes convictions for resisting law enforcement, possession of methamphetamine, burglary, fraud, and battery with human waste.

When she shot the trooper, Miller was a fugitive wanted on a probation violation for the burglary rap. She also was facing Indiana state charges for battery with a deadly weapon on a person less than 14 years old.

Indiana woman

Founded in 1948 to replace the Kentucky Highway Patrol, the Kentucky State Police today employs more than 1,600 people. Kentucky State Police photo.

Miller’s latest legal woes began in the early hours of July 10, 2021, near the Knott County hamlet of Carrie. A neighbor, Winford Cornett, called emergency dispatchers to say that his truck had been stolen.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Bradley Couch responded. While he was at the house, Miller drove past in the stolen truck. The lawman took off after her, using his cruiser’s loudspeaker to repeatedly urge her to pull over.

Miller never sped away, but she also never stopped, driving at no more than 15 miles per hour, until Lower Mill Creek Road petered out at the edge of the holler.

Then Couch ordered her to exit the truck.

“She kept screamin’, ‘Get the fuckin’ light outta my eyes. Get the light outta my eyes,’” he later recalled. “And then I guess at that point, she realized that I was wearin’ a uniform. That’s why she asked me who I work for. She said, ‘Do you work for the Sheriff’s Office?’ I said, ‘No, I’m a state trooper. You need to get out the truck.’ And she just, she failed. She wouldn’t unlock the door, and she wouldn’t roll the window down.”

meth

Kentucky State Police troopers have made multiple arrests for methamphetamine trafficking in Knott County, including this June 13, 2019, bust near Talcum. Kentucky State Police photo.

At one point, Couch remembered, she yelled, “I’m not going back to fucking jail!”

The trooper radioed dispatchers who called the vehicle’s owner to obtain the access code to open the door. Couch could see her hands. She appeared to be unarmed. He holstered his Glock service pistol.

“Once I entered the door code, uh, I popped the door open, uh, she screamed something,” he said during an interview after the incident. “I think, ‘Oh fuck,’ was her, was her words, and she turned sideways like she was gonna put her feet out of the truck towards me, and she slid down into the floor and that’s when the gun went off, and she shot me in the right shoulder.”

Couch was only 6 feet away. The slug from the stolen Rossi M68 .38-caliber revolver exited through his back. Despite his wound, Couch lurched in front of the truck and put all 18 of his pistol’s 9mm rounds into the front windshield.

“I could feel blood running down my shirt, uh, and looked, and it was dripping off my elbow. I was bleeding, bleeding pretty seriously,” Couch told investigators later.

Meth

By 2019, methamphetamine submissions made up more than half of all the samples sent for testing by the Kentucky State Police’s forensic lab. Kentucky State Police photo.

Miller continued to scream at him, but he couldn’t make out what she was yelling. He called dispatchers to report he was wounded, then made his way back to his 2019 Dodge Charger cruiser to retrieve his Smith & Wesson M&P .223-caliber service rifle.

Speeding to his aid, Trooper Shane Michael Jacobs followed the blacktop until it ended in the holler.

Couch later recalled he’d “seen the driver’s hands come up in the air, and it looked like she had something in her right hand and was coming out the window with it, and at that time is when I started, I started firing my rifle from my trunk, and then Trooper Jacobs started firing from the back of the truck.”

The blood loss began taking its toll on Couch. He later told investigators it all became a blur after that. Couch recalled repeatedly begging Miller to put her gun down, but she kept waving it around.

“She bends over and as she comes back up,” Jacobs later told investigators, “that’s when Trooper Couch yelled ‘gun,’ and he, he began to shoot. And when he started shooting, I started shooting.”

Shane Jacobs

Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs talks with children participating in the Safety Town exhibit on the opening day of the 2011 Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. Kentucky State Police photo by Les Williams.

Investigators estimated the two troopers peppered the truck with 65 rounds. They believe Miller fired back once, blowing the glass out of the passenger’s side window, but she missed Jacobs.

She was taken to the University of Kentucky’s UK HealthCare center and treated for multiple gunshot wounds before being booked into the Kentucky River Regional Jail.

Her attorney told Coffee or Die she was likely shot 13 times and was left untreated in the truck for nearly 45 minutes.

Noah Friend’s grandfather was a deputy US marshal who was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 13, 1963, while transporting a prisoner to Kentucky’s Bell County Jail.

Kentucky State Police

Founded in 1948 to replace the Kentucky Highway Patrol, the Kentucky State Police today employs more than 1,600 people. Kentucky State Police photo.

In her interviews with detectives following the shootout, Miller said she was “not in my right mind,” was “completely methed out of my head,” and “was fighting for my life every day” because of spousal abuse when she stole the truck out of a neighbor’s garage.

She insisted she never meant to harm anyone.

“I tried to fire a shot past him and apparently, I hit him,” Miller said during her Aug. 4, 2021, interrogation.

“I didn’t want to hurt that kid. That’s a kid,” she added.

Couch continues to recover from his wounds. He has not returned to duty.

Big Sandy

The small Kentucky town of Prestonsburg has buried three lawmen killed on June 30, 2022, in the nearby hamlet of Allen. From left: Prestonsburg Police Capt. Ralph Harlow Frasure, 60; Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy William Edward Petry, 60; and Prestonsburg Police Officer Jacob Russell “Jake” Chaffins, 28. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Over the past five months, Miller’s defense attorney and federal prosecutors have wrangled over whether the Hoosier woman ever intended to shoot at the troopers.

During their debates, three lawmen and a K9 working dog were killed in Adam, a village roughly 30 miles northeast of Carrie. Prosecutors have charged a Kentucky fugitive, Lance Preston Storz, with what they say was a June 30 ambush of the officers.

Friend told Coffee or Die that Miller’s case was different.

No one denied that she was a survivor of domestic abuse and that she was addicted to meth, and he believes she wasn’t fully conscious when the trooper pulled her over. The judge concluded that her violent ways were accelerating and she needed a lot of time to pay for her crimes and get help.

“All of these kinds of cases are difficult,” Friend said. “In this case, we’re fortunate that no one died in the incident.”

Read Next: A Small Town Along a Fork of the Big Sandy Mourns 3 Slain Kentucky Lawmen

Carl Prine
Carl Prine

Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
fort bragg fort liberty
Fort Bragg Drops Confederate Namesake for Fort Liberty

Fort Bragg shed its Confederate namesake Friday to become Fort Liberty in a ceremony some veterans s...

father's day
Father’s Day Gift Guide: Don’t Disappoint Your Dad … Again

It’s less than two weeks until Father’s Day, and last-minute gifts for Dad are harder to come by tha...

space force
Air Force Picks Colorado For More Space Force Missions

The Air Force announced the permanent location for many more U.S. Space Force units Wednesday — and ...

Curtis LeMay
Curtis LeMay: The World War II General Who Firebombed Japan

Who exactly was Gen. Curtis LeMay? And how did he become the commander who razed more than 60 Japanese cities during World War II?

eric smith marine corps commandant nominee
Highly Decorated Marine Officer Nominated To Be Next Commandant

President Joe Biden has nominated a highly decorated Marine officer who has been involved in the transformation of the force to be the next Marine Corps commandant.

USS Arizona
Profile of a Ship: USS Arizona

When the USS Arizona sank, it took 1,177 crew members with it. Today it remains beneath the water as a memorial to all those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.

b1 bombers bosnia
US Bombers Fly Over Bosnia in Sign of Support Amid Continued Secessionist Threats

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew low over Sarajevo and several other Bosnian cities...

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved