Law Enforcement Agencies Brace for Annual Rock Creek Testy Fest [AUDIO]
Law enforcement agencies in western Montana are mobilizing their forces for this weekend's 32nd annual Rock Creek Testicle Festival just off I-90 east of Missoula.
There were no traffic fatalities during last year's event, but in 2012, eight year-old Jacob Gamble of Seattle was killed when Daniel Martin, 35, drove the wrong way on I-90 not far from Rock Creek in a stolen truck and struck the Gamble family's vehicle.
Montana Highway Patrol Captain James Kitchin said his troopers will have a highly visible presence on both sides of I-90 with a large number of troopers, especially in the evening and overnight hours.
"We're going to saturate that area on night and afternoon shifts," Kitchins said. "We have an aircraft coming in, we have a K-9 unit available, and in addition to that we also have the Strategic Enforcement Traffic Safety Team coming in to assist us, to stop anybody from drinking and driving."
Montana Highway Patrol Captain James Kitchin
Missoula County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Paige Pavalone echoed the message from the Highway Patrol.
"We just want to drive home the idea that people simply cannot drink and drive after leaving this event," Pavalone said. "There's going to be tons of law enforcement around and it's not safe. In the last few years there have been some tragic and awful incidents that have occurred, such as the wrong-way driver that killed a child in 2012, so drinking and driving just will not be tolerated."
Missoula County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Paige Pavalone
The management of the festival said they're doing all they can to keep people at the event, and to provide free transportation to and from the event. Event manager Nel-Lani Powers said camping is available, and they do all they can to keep visitors from drinking and driving.
"Obviously, we have the camping, so hopefully the people will just stay here, we don't want them to miss any of the party," Powers said. "We just run our free shuttle buses. I mean, it doesn't cost anything, it saves your life, you know, it's free. so, what more can you offer? There's no reason for anybody to drive."
Testicle Festival Event Manager Nel-Lani Powers
The event starts with a pre-party on Wednesday evening, but the festival officially runs from Thursday through Saturday at the Rock Creek Lodge and Campground.
Captain Kitchin and Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Pavalone both emphasized one point, if anyone is caught drinking and driving, they will go to jail.