Hanford · Politics

Blair’s attorney casts doubt over Lemoore car chase, witnesses

Holly Blair is home resting after a bizarre car chase last week led to her arrest, her attorney told The Sun on Monday.

The Lemoore City Councilwoman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of five felonies and two misdemeanors, including multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Blair’s attorney, Marguerite Melo, said she is not sure what exactly happened because she hasn’t had an opportunity to review any police reports.

Because Blair was released on bail, police have until July to decide whether or not to file charges. Melo will only receive the report if the Kings County District Attorney decides to file charges.

Although there are no reports available, Melo said Blair’s health was in question at the time.

“She was catatonic, and they had to physically remove her from the vehicle,” Melo said of police. “She was not resistant. It was as if she was suffering some kind of medical emergency.”

Lemoore police said last week that Blair drove into the police station parking lot at a high rate of speed. Police and other agencies were gathering for a memorial procession to Hanford to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.

“Our client tried to make her way out of that parking lot, and in doing so, she drove past a number of people who claimed that she was driving erratically,” Melo said.

During a news conference after her arrest, Lemoore Police Chief Darrell Smith said he did not believe she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Blair was on her way to her son’s eighth grade graduation, Melo said, which is why the child was in the car with her.

Melo said Blair’s children were not taken by Child Protective Services, and they are currently staying with family while her husband Paul is taking care of her.

Last week, Crystal Giles, a witness who was in the police department parking lot, told The Sun that Blair came close to hitting her nine-year-old daughter as well as other officers.

“There’s been a lot of information out there that’s just not true,” Melo said. “Eyewitness accounts are becoming more and more spectacular as time goes by.”

Melo stressed the fact that no videos from the parking lot have been released yet. There is no information that anyone took a video of the parking lot incident with their cell phone.

However, many videos were filmed during the course of the chase away from Lemoore Police headquarters.

“I can’t imagine that no one had a camera out, and no one was taking video or photographs of this,” Melo said. “And so the fact that there isn’t any video evidence is telling.”  

Melo said reports of people jumping out of Blair’s way are false.

“She didn’t come close enough to anyone where anyone had to take truly evasive actions,” Melo said. “When you are walking through a small parking lot and a car is coming through, you naturally move out of the way. That is not the same as jumping out of the way of an oncoming car.”

Melo is concerned that the Lemoore Police Department is doing the investigation because Blair has been critical of them in the past.

“They should have handed this investigation over to someone else to conduct,” Melo said.

Also, Melo said the medical evaluation would have been much better at the hospital, but instead the police took her to jail.

Melo doesn’t expect Blair to attend the City Council meeting next week. Blair might end up going over the limit for missed council meetings depending on her health.

“If she has to give up her seat on the city council in order to get better, so be it,” Melo said. “This is the least of our concerns at this point, mainly because we obviously believe that there’s something that she needs medical attention for.”

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, with a focus on the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.