Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Her neon pink ponytail whipped and snapped like the tail of a wounded gelding, as she raged and frothed at me and photographer Nick Steffens, "Don't say a f*&king word to them!" Jolene shrieked, to her mother who was standing in the driveway, Jolens voice reminding me of blade being dragged sharply across a pane of glass. "They're just like those @$$holes at (competing station), they don't give a F*$k about the truth!"  Jolene then catapulted a ragged, hastily packed suitcase into her mother's trunk.

Jolene's rage, seemed like it was as much a part of her as the nose on her face, and likely predated the long, meandering scar that dragged across her forehead, and that anger was there long before Nick and I parked our news truck in front of her Tooele, Utah home.  The fact that a news reporter was rapping on her front door, was just the ingredient necesary to force Jolene's purculating fury to unleash.

Jolene's 9 year old sister Caessea (pronounced Casey) had died in an ATV Accident, and Caessea's mother, Necole Anderson, who had tested positive for Valium and marijuana had just been charged with Automobile homicide because of that revelation.

"They don't give a sh*t how the drugs got in her, they  just want your story!" Casey fumed, directing her comments at her mom rather than us, "Don't tell them anything!" Jolene belched.

"What do you mean, How?" I asked gently, trying to extinguise her internal flames, "The EMT's they gave my step mom Valium right here!  Necole was freaking out, so they gave it to her to calm her down!"  Jolene, who was either born without a left hand or had lost it in an accident, began to downshift her mood, like a Boeing 757 just seconds after landing.

"Wait," I said "You're saying that emergency workers gave your step mother Valium after the accident, and now police are charging her with auto homicide, in part, because she had Valium in her system?"  "Yes!" Jolene," crossed her arms, "my mom wasn't driving around high on Valium, she got it after."  "Well would you be willing to tell us that on camera?" I asked softly.  It was as if Jolene was a balloon and I could see her filling with rage once again, "NO!  The last reporters just left out everthing, they didnt tell any of it!"  She turned and barreled into the house, tearing at a well-worn screen door nearly yanking it off it's hinges.  She returned with a stained pillow and body slammed it into the backseat of her mother's Chrysler.

"Now listen, I said, stepping closer to the panting woman, I looked in her eyes and told her, "If you don't tell us this part of the story right now, it will never be heard."  She panted, and glanced painfully at the open field that borders her family home.  For a moment, I notice her glance at the rusty barbed wire, that encases the crab grass, empty beer cans, and discarded tires in that wide expanse.   When the ATV crashed Caessea was tossed against that fense.  Jolene's  mother later told me, Ceassea lived for a moment after the crash "My neck hurts," Cassea would exlaimed in fear before slumping onto the ground.

After talking to Anderson, Jolene agreed to do an interview with us, she told us about the Valium, and how good of a mother she believed Anderson to be.  When I asked about Caessea, Jolene beamed and grinned for a moment, giggling as she recalled, what a "Diva" her little sister was, for a second, the ache of rage was calmed and I could see the little girl that once lived inside her.  After Nick lowered the camera, I turned to Jolene, and said, "Look at you, You're just a softy," she batted her eyes, perhaps remembering life before the rage, then her eyebrows furrowed again as she snatched a lighter from her pocket and sparked her cigarette, as she sucked the filter, the ember burned bright orange, the ease lifted, and the rage returned, "but I'm also a Pitbull," she squinted, flinging her cigarette into the dirt, and grinding it to dust under her foot.

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