Racetrack dispute leads to 'stomach-bumping,' alleged assault

By Tanya Mitchell | Jun 19, 2012
Source: Waldo County Jail George Fernald

Unity — Police say an argument at Unity Raceway Sunday, June 17, grew heated, became physical and resulted in the arrest of the racetrack manager.

According to records at the Waldo County Sheriff's Office, 48-year-old George Fernald of Benton was arrested on a charge of failure to sign a uniform summons and assault following the alleged incident.

Waldo County Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton said police became involved after the alleged victim called to report that he was assaulted at the track.

"The victim said the track manager, George Fernald, had assaulted him," Trafton said.

Deputy Dan Thompson responded to the complaint, and after conducting a brief investigation, Trafton said, the officer found enough information at the scene to suggest the assault had occurred.

"He tried to summons Mr. Fernald, but he wouldn't accept the summons," said Trafton.

Trafton said the officer explained to Fernald that accepting the summons does not constitute an admission of guilt, but rather offers a court date, during which time Fernald could submit details of the incident in his defense. The officer also warned Fernald that refusing to sign a summons was an offense that could lead to an arrest, Trafton said.

Despite the explanation from the deputy, Fernald still opted out of signing the summons on the assault charge, so Thompson placed Fernald under arrest.

Trafton said it was unclear exactly what Fernald and the alleged victim were arguing about, but the officer's report stated the complainant verbally expressed his dissatisfaction with one of the race car drivers and Fernald became involved with the alleged victim at that time.

"Apparently [the victim] wasn't as polite as Mr. Fernald thought he should be," said Trafton.

Trafton said the argument first became physical when the two men engaged in "stomach bumping" and that the altercation escalated from there.

The alleged victim was not seriously injured, Trafton said.

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