By Mick Holien
It is just short of two decades since I received one of the more surprising telephone calls of my career..
It was late afternoon on a weekday and as often happens in this business whatever I was working on when the phone rang was pushed quickly to the side as my friend who was news director at KOA in Denver tipped me that a warrant had been issued for the Unabomber in Lincoln which quickly prompted my retort of why I should be paying attention to Nebraska news.
Simultaneously Kurt Wilson burst from photog to prompt our road trip for the evening, indeed east down Highway 200 to Lincoln, as is Montana.
As I said it was not at all unusual for the phone call or even the scanner to scramble my news gathering in my 13-year Missoulian career, the majority of which occupied what most would recognize as swing shift.
Closing in on Lincoln, instead of taking the Stemple Pass Rd turn south out of town, ironically past a Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Dept substation on a dirt road, I drove through town overshooting the turn by many miles and picked up Stemple Pass off the road to Helena.
As what is usual the case it wasn’t difficult to recognize we had arrived as the narrow road was dotted with as many media members as law enforcement personnel.
Shortly several additional Missoulian reporters arrived and began to pursue as many of the story’s factions as we could
But a very short time later, word spread that a man had been arrested in a nearby cabin and would be transported for the next day’s appearance.
And when a Suburban appeared, stopped for a moment short of the main road, then turned right toward town reporters made quick decisions about following a vehicle we though the suspect occupied, waiting at the site for comment, or returning to the shop to file a story.
Part of our crew returned to Missoula, a UM student positioned for a money maker photo during the perp walk courtesy of the FBI in Helena and paid off his student loans.
Photographer Michael Gallacher and I opted for the former and pondered whether we needed to shower, change clothes and travel to District Court to depend on the Missoulian state bureau to follow the action.
Like that was going to happen .. just sayin’