Wild Idaho Rising Tide community organizer, fellow opposition member refused to give ID to state trooper
Two protesters of the Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil megaload that began its trip from Lewiston late Thursday were arrested outside Coeur d’Alene on U.S. Highway 95 while monitoring the shipment’s progress early Saturday morning.
Helen Yost said she and another woman had been part of a group that was monitoring the load early Saturday when they were arrested by an Idaho State Police trooper.
They were later charged with obstruction and failure to wear seatbelts.
Yost is community organizer for Wild Idaho Rising Tide, the environmental action group that has been leading the fight against Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil’s plans to move oil refinery equipment through Idaho on its way to the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada.
As the shipment made one of its scheduled stops, Yost said the SUV she was a passenger in pulled over to the side of the road ahead of the shipment to wait to get back behind it.
An ISP vehicle parked in front of them on the side of the road, Yost said, and a trooper approached them. He told them they were not wearing their seatbelts and asked for their identification. Yost said she told the trooper their seatbelts were off because they were parked at the time and refused to give the trooper her license as she was a passenger, while the other woman, who goes by Cici, did not have identification to give.
Yost and Cici were arrested and placed in separate ISP vehicles, Yost said, and taken to the Kootenai County Jail.
Yost said there had been talk of a protest in Coeur d’Alene that never picked up momentum.
The driver of the SUV, Sharon Cousins of Viola, ended monitoring of the shipment and went to support the two women at the jail.
“Nobody continued monitoring at that point that we know of,” said Cici.
Yost said while they spent about 18 hours in jail, supporters came up with funds for their bonds, which were set at $300 each.
“It was an attempt to intimidate people who are here to monitor these loads,” Yost said of the arrests. “They didn’t have any reason to arrest us and bring us to jail like they did.”
Cici said they were not read their Miranda rights or allowed to make a phone call until they had been incarcerated for about 12 hours at the jail, and she only gave her information to police when she was told she could be held for an indefinite length of time.
“Interestingly, they referred to us at the jail as the Highway 95 protesters,” she said.
(By Brandon Macz, Staff Writer, Moscow-Pullman Daily News)