Police Called to Control Crowd at Country Fair
The 44th Annual Fillmore Festival, a country fair that ended Sunday, had big city trouble this year.
Along with the usual arrests for such crimes as public drunkenness, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department dispatched eight deputies, a helicopter and two canine units to control a crowd that had gathered while an officer was arresting a man for allegedly assaulting his wife.
“When we have a crowd that size, we don’t know what to expect, especially if it hasn’t made up its mind about which side it’s on,” Lt. Gary Bachman said.
The incident began Saturday during the third day of the four-day festival, which featured a beauty pageant, carnival and food booths. About 5 p.m, Valerie Dubay of Fillmore stopped a sheriff’s deputy near Central and Main streets and said her husband, Melvin Dubay, 36, had beaten her, Bachman said.
Dubay led the deputy to a horseshoe pit in Central Park, where the festival was being held, Bachman said. He said he did not know if the alleged abuse took place at the festival or elsewhere.
When the deputy tried to arrest Melvin Dubay on suspicion of spousal battery, a crowd of about 150 people gathered and surrounded him, Bachman said. About 7,000 attended the festival that day, said Sandra Prince, president of the Fillmore Chamber of Commerce and co-chairwoman of the festival.
Dubay, whom authorities said appeared to have been drinking, resisted arrest, Bachman said.
Although the crowd did not try to interfere with the deputy’s arrest, “the deputy simply felt that being alone in a crowd and attempting to make an arrest simply wasn’t the best place to be,” Bachman said.
Ken Legan, 35, of Fillmore, who appeared to have been drinking with Dubay, was also causing a scene, Bachman said.
The deputy radioed for help and the two men were arrested. The helicopter, canine units and some of the officers arrived after the crowd had been dispersed, Bachman said.
In addition to spousal battery, Dubay was booked at the county jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and vandalism because he kicked out the window of a patrol car, Bachman said.
Legan was charged with resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer, Bachman said.
Prince said Sunday that the fair drew 30,000 people this year and is usually a peaceful, small-town celebration, except for occasional arrests for misdemeanors like public drunkenness. Bachman said deputies made at least four misdemeanor arrests at the festival this year.
“All it takes is one bad seed to ruin it for everyone else,” Prince said. “The police kept really good control.”