Man charged with assault following dispute over plumbers showing up early

Darren Joseph Cox

A Roseville man was charged with two counts of second-degree assault for allegedly hitting one man with his truck and dragging another over a dispute about a plumbing job.

Darren Joseph Cox, 49, was charged in Ramsey County District Court July 19 with second-degree assault causing substantial bodily harm and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Police allege Cox the morning of July 18 confronted two plumbers at their business after he told them to leave his home because they arrived half an hour early for an appointment and then did not return.

Cox allegedly argued with one of the men, who’s in his late 60s, before hitting him with his Toyota Tundra twice, knocking him down both times. 

Another man at the plumbing shop, who’s in his 40s, attempted to pull Cox from the cab of his truck, police say. Cox allegedly grabbed the man’s arm and then accelerated away, dragging him some 50 feet before he fell. The younger man had abrasions on an arm and his legs and seriously injured his ankles.

The maximum penalty for the substantial bodily harm assault charge is 10 years, a $20,000 fine or both. 

Cox’s first appearance in court was July 22 and he was released on $40,000 bond. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Aug. 15.

No attorney was listed as representing Cox in the case. Pending the case’s outcome, one of the victims declined to discuss the alleged assault.

Court documents say the two plumbers went to Cox’s home to do work at around 7:30 a.m. July 18, arriving early for the appointment. Cox was upset they were early and directed them to return at 8 a.m., the appointed time.

The older man told police he was outside his business when Cox arrived in his truck, court documents say. Cox got out and cursed at the man, angry because they hadn’t come back, saying they were the worst plumbers in Roseville.

The older man tried to remind Cox of the situation as he got back into his truck. Court documents say Cox then allegedly drove into the man hard enough to knock him down; the man got up and Cox drove into him again.

As Cox began backing out the younger man hopped onto the side of the truck and tried to pull Cox from it, court documents say. Cox allegedly latched onto the man and sped away before the man fell off.

Both men were taken to the hospital. The older of the two was kept overnight for observation, court documents say.

Following the alleged assaults, Cox went to the Roseville Police Department and demanded to speak to the police chief because he said he himself had been assaulted, court documents say.

He described much of the same story to police, though he described the plumbers as the aggressors, who came after him because Cox said he’d threatened to go on social media and say they were terrible plumbers, court documents say. Cox told police one of the men had jumped on his hood and fell off, the other was dragged after assaulting Cox.

Police arrested Cox, court documents say, and found no physical evidence on his truck of what he’d said happened.

Cox was sentenced to probation in 2001 after he pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, according to court records. 

Court documents say he showed up at a business to complain about a delivery of rocks that had not shown up. He screamed and swore at a female employee and then grabbed her, making her scream. 

A 50-year-old man intervened and tried to pull Cox away from the woman, court documents say. Cox punched the man to the ground and then kicked him, injuring the man’s spleen. 

Court documents say Cox initially claimed he was the victim in that case.


—Mike Munzenrider

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