This Idaho native was part of a notorious Montana crime. ‘Dateline’ airs his story

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“Dateline NBC” correspondent Keith Morrison has seen a lot in his career, but a police pursuit involving a man born and raised in Eastern Idaho “is the most dramatic conclusion to a chase” he’s ever witnessed.

“What happens there on video and audio as recorded by body cams and dash cams of police vehicles … it looks like a Wild West movie,” Morrison told

The video and true story of how the chase came to be is featured in a new two-hour “Dateline” scheduled to air Friday called “On a Dark Deserted Highway.”

“A deadly high-speed chase in Montana leads Dateline on a search through 50 years of history to unravel the mystery of how one man turned into a monster and committed one of the state’s most notorious crimes,” a description of the show reads.

The program centers on Pocatello native and anti-government extremist Lloyd Barrus, who was part of the May 2017 fatal shooting of a Broadwater County sheriff’s deputy in Montana.

“He was a faithful LDS member who went on a mission trip early in his life,” Morrison explained. “He came home and married his childhood sweetheart he had romanced before he left and set out on what appeared to be a traditional kind of LDS life.”

But Barrus ended up on “a very different sort of trail,” and “Dateline” explores what led him to make life-changing decisions.

“You hear about people who are behaving crazily in the world and you wonder, ‘Where did that come from?’ That’s the question we asked,” Morrison said. “We dug deeply into this man’s past and discovered an absolutely fascinating story that begins in Idaho.”

Morrison interviewed people who know Barrus, along with deputies and officers involved in the police chase, including dispatcher Kylie Howard and Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan.

“These people dedicate their lives to keeping their fellow citizens secure and safe. They do it with a very small number of people … maybe 12 officers to cover an area the size of Rhode Island,” Morrison said. “They do it happily, and then somebody comes along and thinks they’re the big, bad enemy and watch out. The sheriff was affected in ways you don’t normally see a police officer affected, and that was a moving thing to witness.”

“Dateline” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Mountain time.