Vigilante Justice: Matt

Vigilante Justice: Matt

"I was a vigilante. I had to take the law into my own hands. I was just driving down the freeway minding my own business, and then all of the traffic started slowing up. I'm in a hurry, so I work my way to the front. I see this car weaving, and there was just a lot of smoke and stuff coming off. He was driving erratically," remembers Matt. "No one was doing anything. They were just Joe Citizens all watching, waiting for something tragic to happen. I figure if someone's going to act, it's got to be me.

"So I just floor it, and I get up next to this guy. I was like, ‘You need to pull over.' He was drunk, passed out. He was in and out of consciousness at the wheel. His car just smashes into my car, so I take my car and start forcing him over to the side," he continues. "I was scared. I was just saying, ‘Lord Jesus, help me with this. I don't want to get killed here. I'm just trying to do the right thing and pull this guy over before he kills somebody else.'"

Matt's prayers were answered. He noticed a truck breaking away from the traffic and racing to his rescue. "We boxed him in and made him pull over. He starts running away from us. He tried to jump the fence. I just grabbed him by the back of the collar and just threw him down the hill," he says, gesticulating. "I was like, ‘This is over, son. You're going down. You're not getting away from me. This is how I roll.'"

Matt doesn't regret his highway heroism. "A lot of people said, ‘You could have been killed.' I said, ‘You know what? I'm not going to live my life in fear.' It doesn't take extraordinary people to do extraordinary things. It just takes someone stepping up and doing the right thing," he reflects. "I don't think he'll ever do that again. Now he knows citizens are roaming around out there ready to slam fools down."

"There is no telling how many lives you saved in doing what you're doing," Dr. Phil praises Matt. "You've never done anything like this before. What made you decide to do that?"

"I had to do it. No one else was going to do it. I said, ‘If someone's going to do it, it's going to be me,'" Matt answers. 

Dr. Phil turns to Sergeant Mark Garrett with the Los Angeles County Highway Patrol. Sgt. Garrett says he would never recommend that a citizen pull over any car. Motorists should call 911, and drunk drivers should be given plenty of space. 

"Wouldn't you feel really bad if you had known, ‘I knew this. I saw it unfolding, I saw it happening, and I sat idly by'?" Dr. Phil asks Matt.

 

He nods.

 

Sgt. Garrett shares his thoughts. "That could happen even if you do try to affect an arrest. You could actually cause that person to cross the center divider. You could actually cause an accident, and then how would a person feel?" he says.

Dr. Phil ventures to get the facts straight. "A citizen's arrest is a legitimate thing recognized by the law where citizens can detain someone for behaving badly, behaving criminally, and detain them until law enforcement gets there, or transport them directly to the nearest law enforcement agency. True?" he asks Sgt. Garrett.

"That's true. A citizen can make a physical arrest and detain that person until law enforcement arrives," he replies.

"When you do it, there is liability. You could be prosecuted for false arrest," Dr. Phil points out.

"That's correct."

"I think it's pretty clear this guy was drunk. He has been convicted. It was a good bust," Dr. Phil observes.

"It turned out OK," Sgt. Garrett concedes with a smile.