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A 63-year-old Washington man with a handgun by his side was arrested Saturday night in Missoula after driving northbound in the southbound lane on U.S. Highway 93.  

Charging documents said several cars were forced off the road and one driver thought he saw Craig Scott Herald brandish a weapon after the driver yelled at him to get off his phone.

Herald was jailed at approximately 11:20 p.m. Saturday and faces four counts of felony criminal endangerment and another of driving under the influence, first offense.

He was released Tuesday afternoon on $50,000 bond under conditions that include no driving or alcohol and no contact with victims or witnesses. Herald must remain in Missoula County until his case is resolved.

An affidavit from the Missoula County Attorney's Office said a Missoula woman who pulled off the highway in icy conditions as Herald's car sped toward her in the wrong lane told investigators she was terrified and prayed for the lives of herself and her 15-month-old daughter. The northbound vehicle missed the woman's car and continued toward town.

The first report of a wrong-way driver going southbound on Highway 93 came in just after 9 p.m. Saturday. That was after a snowstorm earlier in the day had rendered most area roads dangerously slick.

Several more complaints advised that a silver passenger vehicle with a soft top was heading north toward Missoula. One woman who was traveling southward with her husband said they saw the vehicle in their lane going the opposite direction through the "S" curves between Missoula and Lolo. Hers was one of several cars that pulled over to avoid collision.

Another witness who was riding with her husband in the northbound lane said they saw Herald's car traveling in the same direction in the wrong lane. Her husband yelled at him to get off the phone, according to charging documents, and thought Herald "yelled something at him and also brandished a weapon."

Her husband sped up and passed the silver vehicle because of the gun, the report said.

A sheriff's deputy spotted Herald's car near the intersection of Brooks Street and Fairview Avenue and attempted to stop him, the affidavit said. Herald kept driving north through Malfunction Junction before finally turning the wrong way on a one-way street and stopping.  

The deputy noticed a "very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the car (and) ... also coming from his breath," the papers said.

Herald was argumentative, "did not want to exit his car, and felt he did not do anything wrong," the deputy reported. After several requests to get out of the car, the deputy grabbed Herald by the arms and assisted him out.

A second deputy who had responded noticed an empty holster on Herald's hip and a small handgun between the driver's seat and the center console. Herald refused field sobriety tests and was mildly resistant before he was put in handcuffs and placed in the back of a patrol car, the affidavit said.

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Mineral County, Veterans Issues Reporter

Outlying communities, transportation, history and general assignment reporter at the Missoulian