Darren Phillips, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran was driving along I-80 in Wyoming on Thursday when he spotted something strange. A man was wrestling a policeman on the ground on the side of the road.
“You see a lot of crazy things when you’re driving,” said Phillips. “Mainly a lot of crazy drivers cutting us off or on their phones.”
Phillips, who drives an 18-wheeler tanker for a Utah fuel company, knew he had to do something.
“I put my brakes on, and I jump out,” said Phillips. “And by this time, the trooper is on his back and the guy is on top of him, he says, ‘He’s going for my gun!’” Both the trooper and his assailant had their hands on the trooper’s gun.
Recalling the training he received years ago as a Marine, Phillips jumped into action and used a chokehold to pull the man off the trooper.
“I did two tours in Iraq and I never had to put a chokehold on anyone,” Phillips said. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done.”
The attacker attempted to get up at first, even though Phillips had him in a chokehold, to which Phillips replied with some sage advice. “I just told him ‘You better stop struggling, I’m going to put you out,’” he recalled.
Later, as he was being hauled off to jail, the man complimented Phillips on his chokehold. “That was pretty amusing, I thought,” said Phillips.
Phillips is from Taylorsville, Utah and served for 12 years in the Marine Corps as well as the Utah Army National Guard for 14 years.
According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the suspect Dustin Roberts, 36, attempted to disarm the state trooper after being stopped for speeding. Police also found 74 pounds of marijuana as well as cocaine inside his vehicle.
Roberts was charged with drug possession and interfering with a police officer.
“I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time,” said Phillips. “Anything I can do for the guys who put their life on the line every day for us, I’ll do any time.”