As Mark Golden exited Interstate 70 at U.S. 40 last week, he saw a silver Dodge Durango in front of him swerve and suddenly pull over.
A woman bolted from the Durango’s passenger side. The driver then jumped out, caught the woman and began pummeling her in the middle of the ramp.
Golden, 55, already had passed the Durango, and the attacker was bigger and younger than Golden, but he wasn’t going to let the beating continue.
He pulled over, as did two other motorists, including one who carried a metal bar, and they interrupted the attack, possibly saving the woman’s life, according to police and court records.
“I had my ax handle right close,” Golden said. “If he wasn’t going to stop beating her, then there was going to be a problem.”
Police praised the Good Samaritans for getting involved.
“It’s one thing for people to stop and help someone else change a flat tire,” said Sgt. Derek Rothert, a supervisor in the domestic violence section. “But it takes a lot of extra courage to intervene in the middle of a volatile crime like that .... Their intervention allowed for timely medical treatment.”
The 31-year-old victim suffered a broken nose, a broken facial bone beneath her eye and bruises and cuts to her head, hand, arm and knees in the Jan. 30 domestic violence attack. She told police her husband had threatened to kill her and then himself while beating her.
Jackson County prosecutors on Wednesday charged her husband, Robert L. Tyus, 38, with first-degree domestic assault and felonious restraint. He remained in jail Thursday in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond. He has previous convictions for robbery, burglary, kidnapping and armed criminal action and was out on parole.
The couple married in April and had no children, although the victim has three children from a previous relationship. She told police she got an urgent text message from her husband at work Jan. 30, asking her to call him.
He told her his 3-year-old niece had been injured and he needed her to leave work to help him. She met him outside her downtown office about 2 p.m. and instantly knew something was wrong.
He was wearing sweats, which he never wore in public, and asked if she thought he was stupid. He announced there was no family emergency, accused her of cheating on him and said he would kill her if she cheated, according to police. He drove away and allegedly punched her at every opportunity. Each time, she used her hands to try to block the blows.
The more they drove, the more violent he became, she told police, according to court records
He eventually pulled over on the exit ramp for U.S. 40 while continuing to hit her. She distracted him by asking for a recording he supposedly made of her talking to another man. When he opened the door to search for the recorder, she bolted.
He caught her and landed a hard punch that knocked her 10 to 12 feet back on the pavement, said Golden, whose observations matched the events detailed in court records. She didn’t have time to get up, Golden said, because the man got on top of her and “went to town” beating her.
She tried to defend herself, eventually getting up. But he hit her again, Golden said, knocking her down in the middle of the ramp. He then pulled her by her hair and tried to drag her back to the Durango, Golden said.
All the while, the man said nothing that Golden could hear. But Golden heard the woman repeatedly shout for him to “stop” and “quit.”
Golden had dialed 911 to summon police officers and he had parked his vehicle across the ramp to try to prevent the suspect from fleeing. He and the other bystanders then approached.
The man was so focused on the beating that he didn’t notice them immediately, Golden said. When the bystanders got within about 20 feet, the man stopped throwing punches, ran to the Durango and sped off around Golden’s vehicle without the bystanders having to say a word.
“I think he realized there was three of us and we weren’t going to back down,” he said. “I would have done the same thing, even if I was alone. ... I did what I needed to do.”
Police arrested Tyus on Wednesday. He told detectives he had planned the attack, according to court records.