BEND, Ore. – Prosecutors dropped all charges against an Oregon man accused of viciously attacking a driver and her passenger after the evidence failed to support the women's story, officials said.
On June 1, the women told officers that Jay Allen Barbeau became enraged after they pulled in front of his truck, leading to a chase that ended with Barbeau smashing in one of their windows, snapping one woman's arm with his bare hands and knocking the other unconscious, according to The Bend Bulletin.
Authorities arrested Barbeau and took him to jail – where he remained until charges were dropped Monday.
District Attorney John Hummel announced Barbeau's release, saying he no longer believed the story of the women, Megan Stackhouse and Lucinda Mann, after interviewing witnesses and examining their claims.
"Upon further scrutiny, these allegations cannot be sustained,” Hummel said at a Deschutes County Circuit Court press Monday, according to the paper. “My job as district attorney is to seek justice, not convictions. I have no confidence in the credibility of Stackhouse or Mann.”
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) June 11, 2018
Barbeau admitted he did punch the window, but his lawyer told The Oregonian he never struck either woman after the pair pulled out of a parking lot at a cider festival, their Kia Soul jumping a curb and nearly colliding with his truck before they repeatedly flipped off the Barbeaus.
"The entire event was a terrible lie that turned into international condemnation," attorney Casey Baxter said.
Barbeau's wife told investigators that Stackhouse, who did suffer a broken bone in her wrist, was slamming her arms down on the truck's hood with closed fists. Other witnesses said they never saw Barbeau reach into the Kia and snap Stackhouse's arm, like she later claimed, according to The Bulletin. They added that Mann, who said Barbeau had thrown her to the ground and knocked her out, appeared to fall down on her own.
Other incidents both before and after June 1st further eroded the alleged victims' credibility.
Six days after the incident, according to Hummel, Stackhouse and Mann went to 10 Barrel Brewing. When they left, Mann allegedly threw herself onto the hood of a car and "flopped to the ground."
In October of 2016, police said the found Mann sprawled in the road pretending to be unconscious after a single-car crash. Then, in November of 2017, Hummel said the women called 911 to report that they had been a vehicle, but investigators failed to find any evidence backing up their story.
After Stackhouse's name and photo surfaced in the media following the June 1 incident, prosecutors charged her in a separate road rage incident on Mother's Day, when a woman said Stackhouse rammed her car twice before punching her in the face.
During the press conference Monday, Hummel said Barbeau had endured "more than enough punishment" for chasing the Kia and punching out the window. "For this he served 11 days in jail and received national ridicule and condemnation."
After his release, Barbeau said he didn't have any anger toward Stackhouse and Mann, adding, "I'm upset that the whole thing happened the way that it did. I hope we can clear everything up as far as my reputation and everything else going forward."