It has been suggested that Pierre Bidou and Steve Armenta likely stopped en route back to Benicia PD to grab something to eat, something police officers have been known to do. But this seems unlikely, the reasons for which will be explained shortly.
The following explores the idea that Pierre Bidou did actually pass the turnout likely minutes before the murders, as he alluded to in the 2007 documentary: "We felt we were only minutes from the crime scene when it actually happened." In fact he may have been the final person to pass the turnout before the murders and not James Owen.
Multiple versions of the Lake Herman Road timeline can be created. There are so many conflicting versions of the same story, it becomes a matter of where you source your material and/or law enforcement quotes. This is not a character assassination of Pierre Bidou, who was a long standing and by all accounts a very good police officer, but with the passage of time memories become tainted, and recollections become blurred. Pierre Bidou on no less than four occasions described finding David Faraday in the front passenger seat of the Rambler, yet in the 2007 documentary stated David Faraday was found lying outside the Rambler on the turnout floor. These are discrepancies compounded by ones recollection of a distant event, and totally understandable. It is from this confliction we shall create a new timeline for Pierre Bidou.
In another Benicia Herald article the version differed. Although not a direct quote from Bidou, it could be argued that the interviewer simply didn't pluck this account out of thin air. It stated "The timing was remarkable. The officers had just participated in a narcotics raid at a building at the Lake Herman parking area and had driven back to town with suspects in the back of their cruiser. Perhaps, they thought, they had seen a car at the turnout. Maybe there were two. They couldn’t be completely sure." Source.
Here lies the problem. If more than one version can be given for the position David Faraday was discovered in the turnout, it is not unreasonable to consider their differing accounts on whether any vehicles were present in the turnout- "They couldn’t be completely sure." The two officers had just secured a big drugs bust of the day and apparently had suspects in the back of their cruiser. Not likely then, that they would stop off for a bite to eat on the way back to Benicia PD. Combine this with the fact that Pierre Bidou throughout the years has never mentioned any detour on the way back to the police department, yet has consistently reaffirmed that he had just arrived at the parking lot of the police department when he was dispatched back to Lake Herman Road, believing he had passed the turnout literally "minutes from the crime scene."
"I was pulling into the lot in the police department, we heard the Benicia Police Department dispatch about a call of a possible shooting and victims on Lake Herman Road." This had to be around 11.25-11.30 pm, radioed in by Captain Daniel Pitta. Therefore deducting this 10 minute journey by Pierre Bidou and Steve Armenta, has the officers passing the Lake Herman Road turnout at 11.15-11.20 pm, where "they had seen a car at the turnout. Maybe there were two. They couldn’t be completely sure."
If you believe that James Owen passed the turnout at 11.14 pm, then Pierre Bidou and Steve Armenta passed the turnout after James Owen, and they were the last witnesses before the murder. This however would negate the idea that the shot James Owen thought he heard 30 seconds after passing the turnout, was the shot that began the murders of the young couple. If James Owen was mistaken about the gunshot, then Pierre Bidou could easily have passed after the Humble Oil worker, and before the arrival of Stella Medeiros, widely recognized as 11.20 pm.
This timeline has Pierre Bidou passing the turnout at 11.15-11.20 pm, and fits nicely with reaching Benicia PD around 11.25-11.30 pm. They likely dropped off the suspects and drugs before returning to the Lake Herman Road turnout, This, bearing in mind they are traveling at increased speed on the return journey, places them back at the turnout shortly after 11.30 pm, just after Captain Daniel Pitta, whose police report has him at the turnout at 11.28 pm. This seems consistent, as both officers recall David Faraday still breathing at the scene.
It is very difficult to be specific fifty years after the crime, however if Pierre Bidou and Steve Armenta had passed off the suspects to fellow officers and secured the drugs seizure, then received the dispatch of an incident on Lake Herman Road, it can easily be seen how five minutes could be added to the timeline. In this case the two officers would have passed the turnout sometime between 11.10-11.15 pm, the earlier of which (11.10-11.13 pm) would allow James Owen to pass the turnout after the officers, at 11.14 pm, and still hear the shot, yet the gunfire would be inaudible to Pierre Bidou and Steve Armenta, who were further away towards Benicia. If James Owen passed the turnout circa 11.08-11.09 pm, then the earlier time of Pierre Bidou passing the turnout at 11.10-11.15 pm, or the later time of 11.15-11.20 pm, would in both instances have the officers passing after James Owen and likely negating the premise a gunshot had been heard.
If we believe the two officers took no detours that night, then they did literally pass the turnout minutes before the murders.