The Wyoming State Patrol is honoring an Iraq War veteran and Utah-based truck driver for his efforts to protect a trooper struggling to subdue a suspect who was trying to take his firearm.
The incident happened on Thursday morning near Green River, Wyoming.
Truck driver Darren Phillips was headed east on I-80 when he spotted a Wyoming State trooper struggling with a suspect later identified as 36 year old California resident Dustin Roberts during a traffic stop.
Phillips told KSL, “I could see the two of them wrestling around and fighting and there was nobody else around … 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 then describes how he subdued Roberts: “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. And as I came back, he just came back with me and just fell right on top of me.”
Phillips held Roberts in a chokehold until police backups arrived and arrested him without further incident.
No serious injuries were reported.
Troopers later found 74 pounds of marijuana and a gram of cocaine inside Roberts’ car. He faces three drug related charges as well as charges for interfering with a peace officer. He is being held in the Sweetwater County Detention Center on a $125,000 bond.
Phillips did two tours of duty in Iraq. He was in the Marine Corps for 12 years and in the Army National Guard for 14 years.
Phillips said, “I was just happy to be in the right place at the right time. Anything I can do for those guys who put their life on the line every day for us, I’ll do any time.”