(Memphis) A truck driver’s quick thinking may have saved a police officer’s life.
Police arrested 28-year-old Frank Sutherland, who they said choked an officer Sunday near Kirby and Great Oaks Road.
He is charged with aggravated assault, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Kenneth Campbell, who delivers food for Kroger, said it all started when he saw Sutherland laying on the ground behind the store and tried to help.
“The first thing that went through my head was, ‘Am I going to have to kill this guy?'” Sutherland recalled.
He said he never expected Sutherland to attack him.
He was delivering food to the Kroger on Kirby Parkway and Poplar when he saw something strange behind the store.
“I saw a white, male body laying in the lane that we use to get to the dock,” he said. “It was pouring down rain, so I thought something happened.”
He flashed his headlights, and Sutherland jumped up. Campbell said that is when things turned dangerous.
“He immediately started beating with his bare hands on the truck and trailer,” Campbell said.
Campbell said Sutherland was screaming at him and trying to pull the truck door open, so he called 911.
Police said Sutherland took off running before they arrived towards Kirby and Great Oaks Road.
They said he was stumbling in the street. When an officer stopped him and tried to get him to sit down in the cruiser, they said Sutherland lunged at him, choked him and screamed, “‘Officer, you’re going to die tonight!'”
Campbell, who followed behind Sutherland in his truck and was still on the phone with 911, told dispatchers to get more help.
“I told them while I was on the phone they need to send more help, because this one officer…He’s not going to be able to handle him!”
Campbell said he realizes now he may have saved that officer’s life, but knows how close this situation came to ending tragically.
“If they would have been ten minutes longer, five minutes…I couldn’t have promised you what would have happened,” Campbell said, shaking his head.
WREG reached out to the police department for comment about the incident, but never heard back.
The officer who was attacked did not suffer any serious injuries.