SALT LAKE CITY — What would you do if you saw someone being attacked on the side of a highway?
Darren Phillips, a truck driver from Taylorsville, encountered that question on Thursday while driving his route from Salt Lake City through Wyoming. After passing Green River, Wyoming, on I-80, he saw a Wyoming state trooper and someone the trooper had pulled over engaged in a violent struggle.
Fortunately for the trooper, Phillips spent 12 years in the Marines and 14 in the Utah Army National Guard. And he did what came naturally to him.
"I could see the two of them wrestling around fighting, and there was nobody else around," Phillips explained Friday.
He braked his fuel truck and jumped out. The trooper was on his back, and the man was on top of him.
"The trooper saw me running over, and as soon as I got up to him, he says, 'He's going for my gun,'" Phillips recalled.
The truck driver put the trooper's attacker in a choke hold, pulled him off the trooper and held him there until another trooper arrived to handcuff the man.
"I did two tours in Iraq, and I never had to put a choke hold on anyone," Phillips said.
The move was even admired by the person taken down by it. While being led away, the man looked at Phillips and said, "Nice choke hold," according to the former Marine.
His reason for stepping in?5 comments on this story
"Anything I can do for those guys who put their life on the line every day for us, I'll do any time," he explained.
Phillips says he's used to seeing "crazy things" on the road, but Thursday's incident was the "craziest."
Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Ben Schlosser said troopers found 74 pounds of marijuana and some cocaine in the car of the man who attacked the trooper.
The man has been identified as 36-year-old Lucas Roberts from California, and he is now behind bars, Schlosser said.
The lieutenant said Phillips is a hero, and he can't thank him enough for stepping in to help.