Vandria West, the mother of Lee County sophomore football player Josh West, was arrested late Monday night after police say she came onto the pratice field and got into a confrontation with Trojans head coach Dean Fabrizio.
LEESBURG — Vandria West, the mother of a Lee County High School football player, “walked out into the middle of practice and got into coach (Dean) Fabrizio’s face” Monday night, resulting in her arrest, Leesburg Police Department officials said.
West, 37, was booked into Lee County Jail and released Monday on a disorderly conduct summons, stated court records.
According to the report, sophomore athlete Josh West was missing his blocking assignments. When Fabrizio “got onto him” about it, Josh West threw down his helmet and walked off the field.
The report added that Josh West apparently went home and told his mother that Fabrizio had placed hands on him. Vandria West then went looking for Fabrizio.
According to the police report, when West found him on the practice field, Leslie Martin — an independent witness — cited in the report — said that “West put her finger in Coach Fabrizio’s face and started yelling at him.”
Martin had been watching the practice and told officers that Fabrizio never touched Josh West.
Fabrizio said Tuesday when reached by The Herald that while he would like to speak openly about the matter, he has been asked not to talk about the details on the ongoing case. But he did say he won’t let the incident detour his or his team’s focus heading into Friday’s monster Region 1-AAAAA showdown in Leesburg with Thomas County Central (6-1, 2-0). Lee County (6-0, 1-0) — The Herald’s No. 1-ranked team in the Fab 5 Poll — and TCC are both unbeaten in region play.
“My principal has already issued a statement, and I’ve been told to focus on preparing the team on playing Thomas County Central on Friday night,” Fabrizo said. “All our kids, every single one of them, showed up for practice (Tuesday) and are working hard to prepare for Friday night.”
The report went on to say that Vandria West put her finger so close to Fabrizio’s face that he had to back away.
“That is when Coach Fabrizio pushed her (West’s) hand and finger from his face,” the report stated.
While reporting officer Cpl. Frank Herndon was speaking to witnesses, West called about a dozen people to the scene as backup. The group “began getting louder stating that they were going to sue the school” and that they had already contacted the NAACP.
Lee High School Principal Kevin Dowling defended his head coach Tuesday.
“After talking with the arresting officer, as well as a few who were on the scene at the time of the incident, I have gathered the following information: A parent came onto our practice field during practice this afternoon and confronted Coach Fabrizio, accusing him of striking or grabbing her child. This information was given to the parent from her son. The confrontation occurred in front of players, coaches, and bystanders,” Dowling said. “Coach Fabrizio did not put his hands on the player in question. This was confirmed by the police officer, after his interview with several who were there at the time of the alleged incident.
“Several attempts to calm the parent down (as well as to ask the parent to leave the field) proved ineffective. After the parent struck Coach Fabrizio in the face with a finger, the police were called, and the parent was arrested for disorderly conduct.”
Dowling said Josh West has since quit the football team.
“(West) has his goals, and we at school want to continue to help him realize those goals,” Dowling said. “He is a good student who is perhaps more of a victim here.”
The principal said that he was willing to sit down and discuss any problems at the school with parents. There are procedures that should be followed, he added.
“We have a procedure for parents who wish to address concerns and or complaints about teachers, directors, coaches and/or sponsors. Making a scene at practice is not part of that procedure,” Dowling said. “Meeting the following day to address these concerns with the sponsor, our athletic director or an administrator is how we expect these sorts of issues to be handled.
“It is my expectation that this procedure will be followed by all who are a part of our school community.”