I'm not a real news hound, but it's been hard to live in the western half of the United States without being aware of the ongoing manhunt for a trio of prison escapees from Arizona and their female accomplice. After their escape, they shanghaied a pair of truck drivers and forced them to drive to New Mexico, where they then appear to have murdered a man and his wife to steal their pickup and head north.
They split up somewhere along the way, and one of the men was captured in Colorado a few days ago. The other three were spotted in the Yellowstone Park area on Sunday. This was a bit of a concern to my family, as my brother in law is working on a bridge construction project down there that requires him to show up at three o'clock in the morning. I do have to give the escapees credit, though. What better place to hide in plain sight than in the midst of throngs of cap and sunglass wearing tourists?
Yesterday the hay was finally ready to bale, the baler and tractor were both functional, and my husband was going great guns on a field over the hill and a mile west from the house. I walked out to take him supper right before dark. He said don't bother to wait up, he was going to bale as long as he could keep his eyes open. So I went home, got the kid ready for bed and was just about to hunker down myself when I heard a vehicle. I went out into the living room just in time to see a pair of taillights going west, down a track that leads to our haystacks, north pastures and eventually, the Canadian border.
Then the phone rang. My dad. The border patrol had called. One of the fugitives and his fiance/accomplice/cousin (eeuwww) had been spotted twenty miles away in St. Mary's and they were warning all residents along the adjacent Canadian line to keep their eyes open and lock their doors.
Did I mention my husband was a mile from the house, in the middle of a hayfield, alone? Without his cell phone, of course.
"Someone just came past, headed west," I told my dad.
"Are you sure it wasn't Greg?"
"I don't think so. It didn't sound like the brown pickup." As in, minus a muffler and rattling so loud you expect to find pieces of it scattered everywhere it goes. Plus, I'm pretty sure it hasn't had both taillights since we've owned it.
After a short debate, we decided Dad should call the border patrol and report the strange vehicle, while I drove out to tell Greg what was going on. It was quarter to eleven. Pitch dark. I went outside and, lo and behold, there was the brown pickup, parked in its usual spot. Oh, right. Greg was driving the newer blue Ford because he'd had to run to town for parts. I jumped in the brown pickup, which ranks amongst its few accessories a .22 rifle and full box of shells. Too bad the dome light in the pickup is broken and I am barely capable of loading the thing in the daylight.
I bounced and rattled out to the hayfield, flagged Greg down and shared the news. He sort of shrugged. I told him about the vehicle we'd seen going past.
"Oh, that was me," he said. "I forgot my flashlight at the shop."
Which was when the border patrol helicopter buzzed us. No doubt in response to my dad's call. Um, oops. But hey, excellent response time.
For complete details on the escapees: http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/apArticle/id/D9HGPS5G0/