Standoff in French Creek leads to two arrests

FRENCH CREEK – Police say a hostage situation that lasted more than 10 hours has led to the arrests of two Clymer residents.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office in a news release said the bizarre incident began when they received a call at 11 p.m. Sunday regarding the well-being of Megan N. Cottrell, 26, of Route 426, Clymer. Deputies said they were told by a third party that Cottrell was being held against her will and a gun was possibly involved.

Once deputies arrived on Route 426, they unsuccessfully attempted to contact Cottrell. Police learned she was in the residence with Gregory A. Johnston, 26, of Clymer, who had numerous warrants out for his arrest.

Police reportedly attempted to contact Johnston and Cottrell for hours with no success. The Chautauqua County SWAT team and negotiators were then called, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Cottrell eventually exited the residence at 7:45 a.m., almost nine hours after police were dispatched. After making contact with Johnston at 9 a.m., he eventually exited the residence shortly thereafter and surrendered without incident.

Cottrell was charged with obstructing governmental administration after deputies said she refused to cooperate with police, denying that Johnston was in the residence at the time. She is currently being incarcerated in Chautauqua County Jail.

Johnston was charged with a parole violation and was taken into custody for the warrants.

According to Lt. James Quattrone of the Sheriff’s Office, no weapons were found in the residence, but police are handling the case as a hostage situation.

As for deputies who responded late Sunday, it was a long night. “I’m pretty sure some of the guys out there had to be pretty tired,” Quattrone said. “It was pretty cold and miserable out there.”

New York State Police and the Findley Lake Fire Department also assisted in the incident.