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SALT LAKE CITY — Darren Phillips could write a book about driving trucks.
“You see a lot of crazy things when you’re driving,” he said with a laugh. “Mainly a lot of crazy drivers cutting us off or on their phones.”
For the most part, his route from Salt Lake City to Wyoming and back is uneventful, until Thursday morning.
Phillips, who lives in Taylorsville, was driving east on I-80 near Green River when he came over a small hill and saw a Wyoming State Trooper and Dustin Roberts, 36, of McKinleyville, Calif., who the trooper had pulled over.
He’ll never forget what he saw as he got closer.
“I could see the two of them wrestling around and fighting and there was nobody else around,” said Phillips.
Right away, he knew he had to help.
So, he stopped his 18-wheeler in the passing lane next to where the trooper’s car was parked.
“I put my brakes on, and I jump out and by this time, the trooper is on his back and the guy is 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 says the trooper and Roberts both had their hands on the trooper’s gun.
Roberts might have grabbed it, if not for what Phillips did next.
“So I just came around behind him and just reached around and put my arm right there and I held it with my other hand and I stood up and I just went back,” he said. “And as I came back, he just came back with me and just fell right on top of me.”
Phillips just laid back and held him there until another trooper arrived, and Roberts was eventually handcuffed.
There’s a good reason why his choke hold was so good.
“I spent 12 years in the Marine Corps and 14 years with the Utah Army National Guard,” said Phillips.
There was no way that man was going to break free.
“I did two tours in Iraq, and I never had to put a choke hold on anyone. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever done. After he was handcuffed and they were putting him in the patrol car, as he walks by, he’s like ‘nice choke hold,’” said Phillips with a laugh.
Lt. Ben Schlosser with the Wyoming Highway Patrol said troopers also found 74 pounds of marijuana and some cocaine in Robert’s car.
He’s now in jail.
The trooper had some minor cuts, but he’s expected to be OK.
If Phillips does eventually write a book on truck driving, it will now include a chapter to remember.
“I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time,” said Phillips. “Anything I can do for those guys who put their life on the line every day for us, I’ll do any time.”