Missoula Man Points a Gun at Another Driver in a Road Rage Incident
On Tuesday, a Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatch to an in-progress intimidation call. A male called 911 and reported that an older male in a blue truck had pointed a .45 caliber handgun at him. The complainant remained on the phone with dispatch and said the driver of the blue truck was now following him. He provided updates of the direction he was driving.
Law enforcement located the blue truck and conducted a traffic stop. While the deputy was placing the driver into handcuffs to be detained, he asked if he had any weapons on him. The male stated something to the effect of "Not on me but I do in the truck." The male was later identified as 65-year-old Steve Tallent.
Court documents indicate the deputy called the complainant and went to his location to conduct an interview. The complainant said he was driving his white work truck to a job when he turned onto Blue Mountain Road, which is where he first came across the blue truck. He said they both continued west on Big Flat Road and that Tallent kept varying his speeds.
The complainant said Tallent was waving his hands at him while driving. At one point, he said Tallent "dynamited" his brakes causing him to hit his brakes hard as well. The complainant planned to pass Tallent as soon as he was able to, to just get around him. Once they came down the hill, towards the radar station, the complainant tried to pass. However, Tallent drove his vehicle over into the opposite lane to block the complainant from passing. The complainant then saw that Tallent was pointing a gun at him. Tallent then drove back into the lane.
A short time later, Tallent pulled his truck to the shoulder and the complainant passed him. The complainant did not see Tallent point the gun at him again. The complainant said Tallent continued to follow him, but was not observed being aggressive towards him again. The complainant said he wanted to be a victim of the crime of an assault with a weapon.
The deputy also spoke to Tallent. Tallent believed the complainant’s vehicle was following him too closely. He denied pointing a gun at the complainant and said he pointed his finger instead. However, Tallent admitted to having a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in a case in the seat next to him. He denied ever taking the gun out of its case during the incident. The handgun was recovered from a partially open gun case located inside the vehicle.
Tallent told the deputy he had taken photos of the complainant’s vehicle when he was following him. Tallent provided consent to retrieve his phone from the vehicle and look at the pictures. One picture showed the above-described handgun located on the dashboard of Tallent’s vehicle in the frame of the picture with the muzzle pointed toward the complainant’s vehicle.
Tallent is currently being charged with one count of assault with a weapon.