Ken Montgomery – OUT ON BAIL!

The goal was simple… Salt Lake City by 2AM.  Somewhere in the middle of Nevada that was the goal we had set.  Our road trip – recent Cal graduate Frank Cohen and Chris Brache and I were heading to Red Rocks to see Pretty Lights – got off to a late start so our goal was to simply get to the halfway point, Salt Lake City by 2 AM.  We’d spend a couple of nights there, chillax before heading down to Arches National Park and then into Denver for the concert (more on the road trip in a later post)…. So about 10PM with 350 miles to go  that was our goal… And then this happened….

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Yeeeeaaaah, if you do the math, covering those 350 miles in 4 hours was going to require going a little over the 75MPH speed limit… And then we hit a little road construction so I had to make up that lost time and then, well there were definitely some not so pretty lights.

Oh well, it was what it was.  A little bump in the road.  Everything was fine and I could see Trooper Aten walking back to the Jeep.. but then he turned and went back to his patrol car.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  For about 20 minutes.  This did not feel good but I had no idea what could be wrong.  When he finally came back he said he had some good news and bad news.  The good news was he was only going to cite me for the minimum for going over the speed limit. That was because of the bad news.  There was a bench warrant out for my arrest for a failure to appear in Lake Tahoe (Stateline, NV).  What the what???  It turns out 2 years ago – TWO YEARS AGO – I received a totally bogus ticket for expired registration, even though my registration wasn’t expired.  I thought I had taken care of that, which I had, and the fact I had registered my vehicle twice in the intervening time would lend itself to that.  But nooooo…. Turns out there was a snafu.  (more on that below)

Trooper Aten said he was legally obligated to take me into custody to the Sheriff’s office and the bail would be $552.  And they only accepted cash.  Which is where we had a problem.  I had left my wallet at home, which I realized when we stopped for gas in Sacramento.  But luckily I had my AMEX card with me in my briefcase so that was going to suffice until I had my wallet overnighted to me on Tuesday.  Trooper Aten said I could follow him into town to the local casino where I could get the cash before heading to the sheriff’s office. hmmm, seems like I’ve seen a couple of versions of this movie before, if you know what I mean…

So there I was following this Nevada State trooper in the middle of Nevada, to a casino to withdraw cash, to bail myself out of jail for a bogus failure to appear bench warrant.  Just another Saturday night.

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As fate would have it, the casino couldn’t do a counter line of credit (like they do in large casinos) and only had a cash machine and the cash machine didn’t work… So off we went, Trooper Aten in the lead to the nearest bank.  And their ATMs were out of order.  And then to the BofA.  We’d get this taken care of.  But another problem, for the life of me I could not remember my PIN!!! I tried everything… nothing worked.  So Frank was able to withdraw $300 up to his daily limit which still left me $260 short.  Chris was a little depleted so I was able to write Chris a check for $300 which we deposited to get out the $300.  Simple… And then off to the sheriff’s office.

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Now I should say here that we were in a jeep with the top off.  There were Berkeley – recent – alumni in the car.  We were going to an EDM concert in Colorado. IN COLORADO. I’ll let you put two and two together because without incriminating myself, you may have thought I was transporting a Reggae band. I mention this because when we got to the sheriff’s office, Trooper Aten told me “All I want you to do is bring in your money, and your driver’s license and that is it.  Nothing else.  We don’t want give anyone any reason to come out and search your car, right?”  So I told Frank and Chris “This should only be about 20 minutes, be back shortly…”

We went inside, me expecting to take care of everything at the counter and then the next thing you know I’m in lock-up!  I naively asked “Hey I need to use the bathroom can I do that before going in” and I was directed to the toilet in the cell… I said “This is going to be worse for you than me…” but I’m guessing they’ve seen it all.  And then I waited in the cell… and waited… and waited… And about 2 hours later I was finally processed.  I want to say the deputy on duty could not have been more pleasant.  The cell was comfortable and I think I actually got about 20 minutes of sleep!

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Anyway, I feel like I am petering out here… but Frank and Chris were totally good sports about the whole thing.  We ended up spending the night at the one vacant room left at 3AM in Elko Nevada, in an awful Comfort Inn where they rousted us from our room at 11AM.  I told the guys “Hey if you don’t mind after a stint in jail in the middle of Nevada, and then this flea bag,  I’d rather not stay in Salt Lake, let me treat to a couple of nights at the St. Regis in Deer Valley…” Frank and Chris graciously agreed to that and quickly took to our new plan.

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That’ some serious man time right there!

Ah, the original citation.  I in fact did take care of it, but I had to go to court yesterday in Stateline, NV to settle it once and for all.  I was the tenth case called and I’m glad of that because I got to witness an awesome judge, Judge Richard Glasson. I was blown away with the courteous manner in which he ran his court and with the respect he treated each of the defendants before him. The first thing he asked to me was “What’s the C on your shirt stand for?” I told him “Cal.”  He then asked if I had looked him up on the Internet… I hadn’t… but I wish I had because it turns out he was named Judge of the Year in Nevada this year… well deserved if you ask me.

We proceeded to have a great conversation about his time at Cal, that he had to transfer to UC Davis because he was too distracted by the many things one would be distracted by in the early 70’s in Berkeley, that his daughter is now at Cal… we talked about 4th Amendment issues… and in the end, he and the District Attorney dismissed the original citation, apologized for the mix-up and told me I’d be getting my bail back!   Again, it could not have been a better experience and outcome.

And had I not had to go to court I would have missed this great snowfall on the last day of summer!!

And one last thing… the speeding ticket… I called the court to see if I could take care of this by mail.  I had a great conversation with the Deputy District Attorney Nicole Ting, told her my story which she insisted I retell while on speaker phone… and to the accompaniment of lots of laughs she told me she really thought the ticket should have been for mudflaps missing, which is not a moving violation, not for speeding!!  So no need to go to court, no point on my record.  WOO-HOO!!!

And so there you have it.  Moral of the story? I don’t know… Just roll with the punches…  Things will work out… life is an adventure and the journey is a major part… And if you’re on a road trip with Ken, hope he gets thrown in jail because you just might get a couple of nights at the St. Regis out of it!

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