It turns out there are no such things as unicorns — not even in a drunken driving case here.
On Tuesday, a Billings prosecutor told a district judge that Phillip C. Holliday Jr., 42, claimed a unicorn was driving when his truck crashed into a light pole earlier this month.
On Wednesday, the chief prosecutor said it was all a misunderstanding.
County Attorney Dennis Paxinos said deputy prosecutor Ingrid Rosenquist misunderstood an e-mail from a colleague who used the phrase "unicorn defense," thinking it was an actual statement from Holliday. "Unicorn defense" is a slang term used by prosecutors when a defendant blames some mythical person for a crime, he said.
"It's kind of a code (between prosecutors) and the code was misinterpreted," Paxinos said.
That’s no unicorn — that’s, uhhhh, what’s-her-name
He said Holliday never told police a unicorn was driving the truck. Rather, he told them an unnamed woman was driving when his truck hit the light pole.
"Mr. Holliday has other serious problems, but this is not one of them," Paxinos said of the unicorn alibi.
Paxinos apologized "to the public, the court and to Mr. Holliday" for the confusion and said he has chastised the prosecutors involved.
"It's a great story, it just isn't correct," he said.
You want magic? The truck turned into a gas station
Holliday pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges of criminal endangerment and drunken driving.
His pickup truck drove through a red light and nearly struck another truck in the intersection, according to court documents. The driver then made an erratic U-turn through a gas station, crossed the street and crashed into a light pole. Nobody was injured.
Holliday has five drunken-driving convictions. District Judge Gregory Todd kept his bail at $100,000 despite his lawyer’s arguing that Holliday's last such conviction was 14 years ago.