A Burning Cold Morning (Part 83)

1963 Oldsmobile Starfire
1963 Oldsmobile Starfire

He headed toward Denver, although it is unlikely that he planned to stay there for very long.  Perhaps he was planning to ask Tracy to go somewhere with him or maybe he just wanted to see her one more time.  That is one of those facts which will never be known.  One thing we do know is that Leo, who owned two vehicles, actually took the time to steal an Oldsmobile Starfire from an alleyway in Minneapolis before setting out on his journey.  He later on commented that he did it on impulse, feeling as though he might not have much time left as a free man.  He managed to make it to Kearney Nebraska in that vehicle without any trouble and checked in to the Midway Hotel there on September 20, 1967.  After a light dinner Leo returned to his room, setting down his fedora on the sofa just before suffering a severe diabetic incident.  

Midway Hotel Kearney Nebraska
Midway Hotel Kearney Nebraska

It is likely that he would have died right there on the floor of his room at the Midway if not for the lucky intervention of Doctor Timothy Sanibar.  Leo’s attack caused him to collapse onto the floor and in so doing he knocked a lamp off the side table, which crashed to the floor with the bulb shattering upon impact.   Doctor Sanibar was walking past the door of Leo’s room just as this occurred and heard the noise.  After knocking on the door twice and receiving only a faint moan in response, he opened the door to find Leo on the floor and semi-conscious.  Unsure of the exact nature of the condition, the doctor shouted for help, which brought a man from the room across the hall over to assist him.  They carried Leo to the doctor’s car and then whisked him away to the hospital.  

Although Leo’s condition was critical when he arrived, the medical staff managed to stabilize him and by mid-day on the 21st he was feeling better.  He did cooperate with the staff and appeared to be taking part in the plan they were working on to properly treat his diabetes.  Internally though, he had a different plan and on the morning of September 23rd Leo snuck out of the hospital and stole a vehicle from the parking lot of a local department store.  

Leo was, of course, not exactly recovered fully from his attack and found himself having some trouble concentrating while he drove.  On at least two occasions he drifted off the road and almost hit trees, swerving back into the traffic lanes and coming close to hitting a few other vehicles.  Those incidents, one near Sterling Colorado and the other outside of Hudson were reported to the local police by several citizens.  Due to the lag time in the reporting though, once a patrol vehicle was dispatched to look into the situations, Leo was much further on down the road.  He drove through Denver and then into the western outskirts where the apartment he had set up for Tracy was located.  Leo was just three blocks away from that address when he saw flashing lights in his view mirrors and then looked down, realizing too late that he was going twenty miles over the speed limit.  Perhaps his caution had left him and he was excited to be so near to the end of this part of his trip.  It is also possible that his medical condition had effected his judgement or that he had lost focus again due to it.  Whatever the reason, the lights were on and he decided to pull over rather than run.

Leo cooperated with the officer who approached his vehicle and attempted to make light of the situation, saying he had to get home because his wife had made dinner and he was running late.  The officer, who played along with the act, was already in possession of some information that made Leo’s arrest almost a certainty.  Unknown to him there was a car theft ring operating in Kearney, one that a long running investigation had finally started to track down.  Those Nebraska thieves were running cars to chop shops in Golden Colorado, which was the municipality in which Loe had just been pulled over.  Due to that on-going investigation and some cooperation between the two police forces, all vehicles reported as stolen in Kearney were also immediately communicated to police in Golden.  Leo’s stolen vehicle had been on the officer’s watch list since he started his shift and he would have been pulling it over even without the speeding offense.  

Leo was in fact arrested and soon after that his outstanding warrants in Minnesota were discovered.  By the evening of September 23rd, as he lay down on a cold steel cot with a very thin jail mattress, he knew that he was facing a significant number of charges.  He thought about many things that night, including all of his past glory, the good times, the women and money, and even spent a little bit of time contemplating his family in Minnesota.  The one thing that he spent the most time on though was Stanley.  Somehow that whole situation bothered him much more than any of his other regrets or remorse.  Leo realized that now, with a long prison term ahead of him and his own health failing, he was not going to be able to deliver the true justice that needed to be brought down upon the Clockmaker.  Stanley had hurt a lot of people, including children, he had betrayed Leo and he was obviously a deranged individual.  It was possible that many more people were going to be hurt, all because Leo had not been able to find Stanley and deliver justice.  That really rankled him and he wondered if there was any way that he could still manage to make that happen.

Leo slept very little that night and refused to eat breakfast the next morning. That day, both tired and resigned to his fate, he listened half-heartedly to the officers and agents who rambled on about all of his outstanding warrants, his crimes, extradition and prison time.  It kind of all seemed like a dream in which he was barely participating, something happening to someone else as he observed it from a remote place.  Leo was not feeling well in general and, although he did not mention it or complain, it is noted on his processing records that, “a medical examination should be done at the earliest possible opportunity.” 

On the morning of the 25th Leo, who up to that point had not bothered to call anyone including a lawyer, asked for the use of a phone.  Once he was sitting in front of it he just stared ahead, eyes squinted up a little bit and a frown on his face.  Then, just as the officer who was observing was about to tell him to make the call or be taken back his cell, Leo lifted the receiver and dialed.  It rang twice before a woman picked up.

“Hello Amanda.  It’s Leo.  There are some things that I have to tell you.” 

…to be continued…

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