Flying Over the Fair

Aerial view of the Eastern Idaho State Fair from a Yellowstone Helicopters tour. 

This following is a story written and reported by Nate Eaton of East Idaho News: 

BLACKFOOT — Federal and local law enforcement are investigating a shooting threat made against a local helicopter company.

Tadd Jenkins Auto Group in Blackfoot received the threatening phone call Tuesday. Jenkins also owns Yellowstone Helicopters and has been providing rides from his dealership in conjunction with the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

In the phone call, a person said:

“You tell that guy in that helicopter if he flies over my house that low again, I’m gonna shoot that son of a b****,” the caller says to the Tadd Jenkins receptionist. “He does not need to be taking my trees out at my house. You tell him. You tell him he’s gonna get shot down that low.”

As the receptionist tells the caller he needs to speak with the general manager, the person on the phone hangs up.

“This is very disappointing. We just want to be a part of this community. We thought it would be a fun thing to give rides at the fair and help fulfill a bucket list item for a lot of people,” Jenkins tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We wanted to make it affordable for people and give people a good time.”

Jenkins contacted the Blackfoot Police Department, which confirms an investigation is underway in conjunction with the FBI.

“We have forwarded this to the federal authorities and are taking this matter very seriously,” Blackfoot Police Capt. Gordon Croft says.

The phone number associated with the call belongs to a prominent local attorney who serves part-time as a prosecutor in at least one eastern Idaho county.

EastIdahoNews.com is not releasing his name at this time, because we have been unable to independently verify the identity of the caller. We have requested a comment from the attorney.

Jenkins had cleared his helicopter flights with the Eastern Idaho State Fair and aviation authorities prior to flying. After the threat was received, he was forced to ground the helicopter for a time.

“I just wish the individual would have come to us and would have said, ‘You’re flying too close to my house,'” Jenkins says. “We would have made adjustments and tried to fix the problem.”

Jenkins says he’s proud of what his company has done to support the Blackfoot community. His dealership sponsors 4-H Youth Development programs, local athletics and recently donated vehicles to four different high schools that will be used for fundraising purposes.

Despite the threat, Yellowstone Helicopters will continue to offer rides through the end of the fair. Jenkins invites anyone who wants to experience “the ride of a lifetime” to come down. He also hopes justice is served in this case.

“I don’t give a crap who you are. You make that kind of a threat – I personally am going to push for the maximum punishment,” he says. “It is unacceptable.”

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