07 March 2008

She Said, She Said Something Else

Last week, local legacy media eagerly swallowed the bait:
Jennifer Boulden had just made a slow U-turn on Hwy. 169 south of Shakopee, when the guy coming up fast behind her started honking and motioning to pull over. She stopped on the shoulder and the man got out of his pickup. She rolled her window down and said he started screaming at her. He walked away, and she followed him to his truck, trying to apologize. He kept swearing. She got scared and tried to call 911, but he grabbed her cell phone and threw it on the highway, she said. It shattered. Then he picked up the 5-foot-5, 125-pound mother of five from Prior Lake and tossed her. "I was high in the air and then I was in [the] middle of 169 northbound," she recalled from her hospital bed Thursday morning at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee. "I remember rolling over and hearing skidding brakes. A lady got out and stopped traffic. A man ran and scooped me up and carried me to side of road."
All the trappings of the kind of story local media love: A huge, mean man in a big truck abuses petite soccer mom just trying to do the right thing. Fortunately, in this case, law enforcement did the right thing, poked around, asked questions and didn't accept the easy, first draft of the story:
A Prior Lake woman who said an enraged driver threw her onto Hwy. 169 near Shakopee last week has changed her story after police confronted her with conflicting statements from other witnesses. Boulden was talking on her cell phone when she made a U-turn on Hwy. 169 near the Mobile Manor Trailer Park. She pulled into the passing lane in front of a man driving a pickup truck. He locked up his brakes and swerved into the grassy median to avoid a collision on the four-lane highway. He drove back into the lane behind her.

The pickup driver walked up to Boulden, who rolled down her window. He yelled at her for her poor driving and using a cell phone, then returned to his truck, where a woman and two children waited. Boulden walked back to his pickup and argued with him. The man wanted to leave, but she tried to keep him from shutting his driver's door. He pushed her down. Her cell phone fell and broke. He drove away.
That there is a different story that the one she spun last week, the one that every media outlet screamed from the top of the hill.

Boulden could not be reached for comment today.
That's also a change, because when she had everyone believing her story, you couldn't keep her off tee vee.

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