Marijuana vs. Ohio State Buckeyes leaf: Jonas-Boggionis pulled over after decal confused for pot
Jody Callahan, Memphis Commercial Apppeal
10:05 AM, Feb 18, 2013
1:08 PM, Feb 18, 2013
Looking back, Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni can laugh about it. A little.
But she's still pretty annoyed, too. And the Memphis area gets another national black eye.
The kerfuffle began a little after 3 p.m. on Feb. 4, as Jonas-Boggioni and her husband, Guido, were heading home to Texas after attending his mother's funeral in Columbus, Ohio.
A little inside the Shelby County line on Interstate 40, a black SUV pulled behind the Mustang convertible, blue lights flashing. Jonas-Boggioni, 65, pulled over, that familiar knot of panic in her throat.
Did that cop catch me speeding when I hit 72 mph to pass that truck? she wondered.
No, the officer — both Jonas-Boggioni and her husband say it was a Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy — said he pulled her over because of the decal she had on the back of her car.
"They said they'd been notified by an officer outside their jurisdiction who had seen me driving down I-40," she said. The deputy asked her why she had a marijuana sticker on the back of her car. Jonas-Boggioni looked back at her car, dumbfounded, and wondered if someone had stuck something on there when she wasn't looking.
What she saw was an Ohio State Buckeyes football helmet, which is traditionally decorated with the buckeye leaf to signify gridiron success.
When this was pointed out to the officer, the situation came to an end and the couple got back on the road, without receiving any sort of citation.
Shelby County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chip Washington said the department has no record of any such stop, although since no ticket was issued, that's not uncommon.
Numerous media outlets around the country have played up the story, making some obvious observations.
First off, the buckeye leaf bears little resemblance to a marijuana leaf. The Buckeye has five points while marijuana leaves generally have seven.
Then, even if it was a marijuana leaf, is that justification for a traffic stop?
Not to mention the fact that it's unlikely that even the dumbest drug smuggler would put a marijuana sticker on his car when he's trying to discreetly transport the weed.
"After I got home, I got to thinking about it and said, 'How stupid,'" Jonas-Boggioni said.