As a 6-foot-4, 300-pound security guard, Vincent Williams didn't hesitate to help when he saw a Minnesota state trooper struggling with a driver who crashed his car Sunday night in Brooklyn Center.
Williams, 30, of Fridley, helped the trooper detain the suspect, Matthew William Cleve, 38, of Zimmerman, who faces three felony charges related to the incident.
Williams said he was driving behind Cleve's Honda Accord shortly after 8:30 p.m. and watched it veer into the opposite lane and crash near Hwy. 252 and N. 70th Avenue. Williams got out to make sure the driver was OK and waited for authorities to arrive.
"I couldn't imagine driving off and something happening and I would've seen it on the news," he said. "I didn't know it would get that confrontational."
Williams said he saw the responding trooper and driver get into a physical struggle, and said he saw the driver trying to unholster the trooper's gun.
"That's when I jumped in," he said.
Putting his size and 14 years of security guard experience to use, Williams said he pinned the driver to the ground and held him while the trooper got out a Taser and used it on Cleve, who was eventually detained.
Cleve is charged with disarming a peace officer and fourth-degree assault of a peace officer. A third charge stems from a prior felony conviction that makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm, according to charges filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court.
The responding trooper, identified in charging documents as State Trooper T.R., was on patrol Sunday when he saw a Honda Accord that had crashed into a retaining wall off Hwy. 252. Cleve had left the car and did not comply when the trooper told him to stop, the charges said.
When the trooper attempted to detain him, Cleve punched him in the face, pinned him down and tried to grab the trooper's handgun, ignoring commands to stop, the charges said. A bystander — Williams — came over, grabbed Cleve's arms and put him in a headlock, the charges said.
Col. Matt Langer of the State Patrol said Williams "was really helpful in not only seeing what was happening but helping the trooper regain control of the situation."
Both Cleve and the trooper were taken to North Memorial Health Hospital for treatment of noncritical injuries. Cleve, who according to the charges "appeared under the influence of a controlled substance," submitted to a urine test. Results are pending.
Langer said the trooper is back to work and grateful for the good Samaritan who stopped to help him. The incident remains under investigation.
Williams hasn't been working security at downtown Minneapolis bars and clubs during the pandemic, but he has a full-time job doing HVAC work. He said he was unharmed in the incident.
"I'm just glad everyone got to go home safe," he said.