A 71-year-old Missoula woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for peacefully protesting on Reserve Street as a megaload of oil field equipment passed by early Wednesday.
Carol Marsh was charged with the misdemeanor when she sat down in the middle of Reserve Street near the Kent Avenue intersection and refused to move.
Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Travis Welsh said protesters along Reserve Street were generally peaceful and obeying laws as Omega-Morgan moved the behemoth equipment through town.
But as the megaload neared Kent Street at about 12:40 a.m., Montana Highway Patrol officers accompanying the rig called city police and said a protester was sitting in the street, in front of the trucks.
Welsh said city officers asked Marsh to move, “and she said that was not her intent.“
She was arrested, booked into the jail and released without bail, Welsh said, and the megaload continued on its way.
Marsh was one of three protesters in March 2011 who sat in the street on North Reserve to block a megaload en route to the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings. She and another woman were forcibly removed, but were not arrested.
The Omega Morgan load is now parked at the former mill site in Bonner, where it will be reconfigured to meet the requirements of Canadian highways. The load will eventually be delivered to the tar sands of northeastern Alberta.
Meanwhile, a second Omega Morgan load was ready to leave the Conner area in the upper Bitterroot Valley at 10 p.m. Wednesday with a Lolo destination.
And another, smaller megaload that’s following the same route and being transported by Action Specialized of Lynden, Wash., was in Lolo on Wednesday with plans to move through Missoula to the Bonner Town Pump Truck Plaza early Thursday morning. It’s heading to the same area in Alberta that the Omega Morgan megaloads are headed.
All such oversized loads that require traffic lane alterations, pilot cars and highway patrol escorts through Missoula must wait until midnight to roll, according to Duane Williams of the Montana Department of Transportation.