Last week, Megan Stackhouse was seen as a victim in a violent case of road rage in Bend. But the roles were reversed Tuesday as she stood before a judge in Deschutes County Circuit Court, accused of punching a woman in the face in a separate road rage case on Mother’s Day.
Stackhouse, 34, was arraigned on one count of fourth-degree assault for allegedly striking a 55-year-old Bend woman after twice crashing into her car on May 13.
She was given July 18 as the date to enter her plea and was assigned a public defender. She was ordered by Judge Beth Bagley to schedule an appointment with the Deschutes County jail for booking and a mugshot and told to avoid contact with her alleged victim, Cheryl Norton.
Norton told The Bulletin that Stackhouse’s insurance paid for all of the $5,000 in damage to her car. She said Stackhouse’s punch fractured her jaw and re-aggravated a serious jaw injury she’d recently recovered from.
Stackhouse and her partner, Lucinda Mann, 26, made the news as the alleged victims in what Bend Police called a road-rage assault on June 1. Stackhouse and Mann told police that Jay Allen Barbeau, 49, of Redmond, had angrily tailed them for about a mile, then got out and broke the rear window in their car with his hand before breaking Stackhouse’s arm and throwing Mann hard to the ground.
National media outlets covered the story and its numerous notable details, including Barbeau’s lack of prior criminal history and the thousands of dollars the couple raised for medical expenses through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.
But Monday, District Attorney John Hummel announced he was dropping all charges against Barbeau because he doubted the accusers’ story. Witnesses have stated Mann fell to the ground unassisted and feigned injury, and that Stackhouse broke her arm slamming it on the hood of Barbeau’s lifted Toyota Tundra. Hummel said he still believed Barbeau committed the crimes of reckless driving and criminal mischief, but in the end decided the 11 days Barbeau spent in jail and the attention he received from the news coverage were punishment enough.
Hummel said he’s still considering charging Mann and Stackhouse with lying to police about the June 1 incident. He said a sample of Mann’s blood from that day was found to contain multiple illegal drugs.
Some donors to Mann and Stackhouse’s GoFundMe page are now upset, including Loren Cogdill, a former board member of the Human Dignity Coalition, where Stackhouse worked as director for more than six years.
Cogdill and his wife, Karen, donated $25, and now they want it back.
“It seems like it was a scam and she wasn’t being honest,” Karen Cogdill said Tuesday.
Stackhouse has no criminal convictions on her Oregon record. At Tuesday’s hearing, she wore a soft cast on her right arm. Outside the courtroom, she refused to comment.
Norton said she wanted to tell her story so Barbeau could receive justice.
“They are liars and fakers and just awful people,” Norton said of Stackhouse and Mann.
Jay Barbeau’s wife, Laura, told The Bulletin her family is considering suing Stackhouse and Mann for defamation and to recover the $4,000 they spent on lawyer fees and other costs. She said she commended Norton’s bravery for telling her story to help expose Stackhouse and Mann.
“I knew something good would come from this,” Laura Barbeau said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org