PORTLAND, Ore. - U.S. Marine sergeants Daniel Florez and Nate Hess are used to high-stake situations and when they saw 26-year-old Christopher Lee Cox, a suspected hit-and-run driver, dashing from the scene of the accident they knew what to do.
It was just a regular day for Florez and Hess. They were out and about trying to meet people who might be interested in joining the Marines; instead, they met up with Cox near Interstate 205 and Southeast 82nd.
The two said they saw Cox slam into a car, jump out and take off running.
“I’d seen him run up the hill and chased after him, jumped over the barrier (and) caught up with him,” Florez said.
While Florez was chasing down the suspect, Hess checked on the driver, a 52-year-old man from Woodburn.
“He actually ended up being 20 years Navy retired, so he was pretty stoked some Marines were there helping him out,” Hess said.
Both Marines said their training automatically kicked in, and Florez knew exactly how to take Cox down.
“I grabbed him by his right wrist and then used my left hand to push the elbow down and just put him down onto his face,” he said.
Even through all the excitement, both knew how to stay calm.
“It was almost a natural reaction to just give a hand and help out - whether it’s chasing the guy or checking on the guy who was injured,” Hess said.
Both Marines were out of uniform and unarmed at the time, though Florez said he was armed – with his hands.
“I wouldn’t suggest to anybody, if you don’t have any type of training, to go chasing after somebody to do that,” he said. “It was just natural for me.”
They both said they’re not heroes. They were just doing their jobs.
“I don’t think we did anything exceptional, just normal everyday stuff hopefully anybody would do,” said Hess.
Florez said it wasn’t tough to catch up with Cox and once he was down, he complied with his orders.
Cox was arrested by the Oregon State Police. Cox, who already had that felony warrant for "attempt to elude in a vehicle," complained of pain and was transported by an AMR ambulance to Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. After he was released by doctors, state police took him to the Clackamas County Jail. He now faces the following charges of DUII, felony hit-and-run with injury, assault in the fourth degree and recklessly endangering another person.
The 52-year-old man Cox allegedly smashed into was taken to Providence Milwaukie Hospital with minor injuries.
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