SHIRLEY (CBS) — Shirley Police said Thursday that the incident involving a “suspicious man” approaching a jogger the day before was just a case of a Good Samaritan offering water to a runner who looked tired and thirsty.
On Wednesday, police said they were investigating after a jogger reported the man approaching her in a green van and offering her water around 10 a.m. that day.
After a Facebook post by that jogger’s friend went viral, the people of Shirley went on alert.
But police say the driver is a 71-year-old veteran who lives in town and transports handicapped people to medical appointments–which is exactly what he was doing at the time.
Shirley Police Chief Thomas Goulden said he met with the man, as well as the jogger who reported the incident, and resolved the situation Thursday morning.
“It was nothing more than what was initially reported. An individual had stopped, they saw the jogger running on Hazen Road, it appeared that she was perspiring, it looked like she could use a drink,” said Goulden. “It was a Good Samaritan stopping because he thought this woman could use a bottle of water because she was jogging on a hot day.”
The chief said some of the information about the incident that was circulating on social media did not come from the jogger directly, and was exaggerated. One post claimed the jogger had been knocked down.
“I can understand the public’s concern,” the chief said. “Obviously social media didn’t help. There was a lot of distorted facts put out yesterday on social media.”
Watch: Police Press Conference On Shirley Jogger Incident
He said the jogger did the right thing by contacting police.
“If something like this happens, I would rather have you report it and let us look into it,” he said.
Goulden said the man was surprised by the panic resulting from his interaction with the jogger.
“He had no idea that it was even going on,” said Goulden. “He doesn’t own a computer, and he was kind of dumbfounded when we showed up at his house this morning to talk to him.”
Goulden said he was happy that what some thought might have been something more sinister was just a misunderstanding about a friendly offer.
“I’m happy for that, because there are still good people in this world,” said Chief Goulden.