Police chief details council member's arrest. Court date set for July 5 at 8:15 a.m. in Dept. 7

Updated 11 weeks ago By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair
Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair

Lemoore City Councilmember Holly Blair was released on bail today (Thursday) following a Wednesday afternoon (June 5) incident that began in the Lemoore Police Department parking lot and ended near the intersection of Lemoore Avenue and Cinnamon with her arrest.

Police charged Blair with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of felony child endangerment, one count of felony evading a peace officer, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of reckless driving. She is now expected to be arraigned on July 5 at 8:15 a.m. in Dept. 7 at the Kings County Courthouse in Hanford.

In a late night press conference Wednesday night, held in the Lemoore Police department conference room, Lemoore Chief of Police Darrell Smith brought perspective to the strange saga that occurred Wednesday afternoon at the department’s Cinnamon Street parking facility, providing critical details as to the incident, from Councilmember Holly Blair’s sudden appearance in the parking lot – where a department chaplain was preparing for a cross-country journey with other agencies in an effort to highlight the importance of mental health awareness in law enforcement – to her arrest about 15 minutes later.

It was at approximately 2:14 p.m. that Blair’s red SUV, a 2008 Honda Pilot, pulled into the department’s rear parking lot located at the intersection of Fox and Cinnamon.

In a calm, subdued manner, Smith said that at about 2:14 p.m. his officers and other local agencies were in the rear compound when a red Honda Pilot driven by Blair entered the secured lot at a high rate of speed. “Officers described the vehicle as traveling as such a high rate of speed that the front end dipped and came up briefly off the ground as it struck the dip in the  curbed entrance of the parking compound.”

He added that a civilian and three small children were also present in the south area grass, taking photographs of the event. Smith said the civilian and the children had to run from the car’s approach for fear of being struck. Two officers had to get “out of the way” to avoid being struck by Blair’s vehicle. They yelled at the driver to get her to stop. “Ms. Blair did not comply,” said Smith.

Blair then made an abrupt U-turn in the eastern portion of the compound “There is one entrance and one exit to our rear compound,” continued Smith. “So, there’s no way out once she made it through the east portion of the compound.”

She made a U-turn and began traveling at a high rate of speed towards the entrance. Lemoore officers and other local law enforcement offers there yelled at her repeatedly to stop, and she refused to do so. “As Blair neared the exit, an incoming Lemoore officer was entering the entry in a marked vehicle, and he had quickly swerved out of the way to avoid being struck by Blair’s vehicle, to avoid a collision.”

She turned north on Hill Street at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at stop signs, including one at Fox and Cinnamon as police pursued her with lights and sirens. “She made no attempt to pull over,” said Smith.

She was forced to stop near the intersection of Lemoore Avenue and Cinnamon due to traffic.

Once the vehicle stopped, officers gave several verbal commands for Blair to exit the vehicle. She ignored all verbal commands given by officers. Inside Blair’s vehicle, there was a young male who turned out to be Blair’s son with a dog.

Officers said Blair was unresponsive when told to allow the boy to leave.

After approximately 15 minutes of negotiations, Blair still refused to leave the car, forcing officers to carry her from the vehicle. Eventually, police placed her in custody, and she was arrested and transported to the Kings County Jail where she officials booked her on charges of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of felony child endangerment, one count of felony evading a peace officer, one count of resisting arrest and one count of reckless driving.

Her bail was $195,000.

“I do not know what Blair’s motive was today, I can only describe her behavior after listening to officers – their statements given to the investigators – as very bizarre,” said Smith. “We can’t explain what her intent was when she came into the rear compound. We  haven’t had any contact with Blair, and when I say we I’m talking about Lemoore Police Department personnel since August of 2018.”

Smith said that jail officials monitored Blair at the Kings County Jail, and he indicated that they determined that the council member was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Smith also told reporters that Blair had had a history of being stopped by law enforcement, not only by Lemoore Police Department but by CHP (California Highway Patrol). “We have not had any contact with her since August of 2018, and I can only describe today’s behavior as very bizarre.”

He added that Blair hasn’t attended the last two council meetings and that she’s “normally very active on Facebook” and recently there hasn’t been any social media activity.

The chief indicated the department hadn’t had any contact with her lately. “Today’s behavior was very bizarre.” He added that he has no idea what her motive was for entering the department’s compound and soliciting a high-speed chase that ended with her arrest.

He explained to reporters that he couldn’t explain why she didn’t pull over while officers were following her or what her motive was. Officers, he said, told him that Blair may have been driving from 20-30 piles per hour in the compound and was traveling at a high rate of speed on Cinnamon once leaving the compound.

The chase was brief, and it was only about 15 minutes later that police finally took the council member into custody at the intersection of Lemoore Avenue and Cinnamon.

He also responded to a question about Blair's past criticism of the police department for pulling her over for what she suggested were false or unwarranted reasons. “They’re false accusations,” said Smith. “It’s easy to prove that those allegations are false,” he added, referring to easy-to-obtain records compiled by the department.

 

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