Lemoore City Councilwoman Holly Blair was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Lemoore police on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, child endangerment, resisting arrest, and reckless driving.
Blair was elected to represent Lemoore’s District E in 2016.
Lemoore Police Chief Darrell Smith, during a press conference, stated that Blair drove her SUV into the rear “compound” of the Lemoore Police Station at a high rate of speed.
A police officer reported that she was driving so fast that her front wheels came off of the ground after she hit a dip at the entrance to the station’s driveway. Attendees of a special event at the station who had gathered at the north compound, including children, had to run to avoid being hit by her car, he said.
Her teenage son, and a dog, were inside the car during the incident, Smith said.
When Blair got to the end of the parking lot she made a u-turn, and again proceeded at a high rate of speed in order to exit. Officers yelled at Blair to stop but she did not comply; an officer’s vehicle was entering the station parking lot as she sped out, and had to swerve to avoid being hit.
Blair proceeded north on Hill St and ran a stop sign while turning onto Cinnamon Dr. She then proceeded west on Cinnamon and ran the stop sign on Fox St while police cars pursued her with lights and sirens.
When Blair turned onto Lemoore Ave, she was blocked in by traffic that was stopped at a red light. Police officers negotiated with Blair for approximately 15 minutes but she would not exit her vehicle.
Officers later removed her and her son; when they attempted to remove Blair, she went limp and the officers had to carry her to their vehicle.
Blair was ultimately arrested on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon (her car), two counts of child endangerment, one count of felony evading the police, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of reckless driving.
Smith said that it did not appear that drugs or alcohol were involved and that he could only describe her behavior as “very bizarre.”
Smith said that Blair has a history of being stopped by the Lemoore Police and the California Highway Patrol, but that they have not had contact with her since August of 2018. However, Smith and Assistant Police Chief Margarita Ochoa had previously filed a restraining order against Blair in January to prevent her from speaking critically about the police department.
Because of the restraining order, Blair, Smith and Ochoa spent several days together in March in mediation to avoid a trial. Blair was also censured on August 7, 2018, by her fellow city council members.
On April 25, the Lemoore City Council voted to settle the case. The settlement between the City and Blair meant that the restraining order was lifted, the censure was rescinded, and Lemoore was required to pay $38,000 in legal fees to the Law Offices of Melo and Sarsfield, who represented her.
While discussing her behavior yesterday, Smith stated that Blair has missed the last two city council meetings, and revealed that she had not been active on Facebook for several weeks, indicating that the police department or city management has been monitoring her social media accounts.
In a statement to ABC30 Action News, Lemoore City Manager Nathan Olson said that he would direct the Lemoore City Attorney to “take another look” at a restraining order.
“Blatant disregard. I think Ms. Blair had shown a hatred toward law enforcement in general,” Olson said. “Because I do fear the safety of our employees after this incident.”
Her bail has been set at $195,000, but could increase or decrease after the police report is reviewed by the Kings County District Attorney’s office. They are expected to file charges Friday morning.
Blair did not post bail and spent last night in the Kings County Jail. Her attorneys at the Melo and Sarsfield group, Maggie Melo and John Sarsfield, checked on Blair’s welfare but did not discuss the incident.
“Ms. Blair loves and misses her family and looks forward to going home,” said Melo.
After receiving the police report and possible charges brought by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Melo will likely hold a press conference on Friday at the Hanford Courthouse steps relaying Blair’s position on what happened.