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A judge sentenced a Corvallis man to probation Tuesday for driving a lawn mower while intoxicated earlier this year and causing his 7-year-old son’s foot to be severed by the blade.

Peter George McManus should serve three years on supervised probation, by order of Benton County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Donohue.

McManus also surrendered his driver’s license to Donohue, who ordered the man’s license to be suspended for five years. Should McManus’ license be reinstated during that time, such as with a hardship permit, he is required to drive with an interlock ignition device, Donohue said.

The judge also ordered McManus to undergo alcohol treatment while on probation and to serve 20 days on the county’s work crew.

McManus pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

On April 3, McManus was operating a riding lawn mower while the boy was sitting on the hood of the machine, said prosecutor Kristen Farnworth. The lawn mower hit something, possibly a rock, which caused the child to fall off the hood, Farnworth said. The child was then driven over by accident, causing him to permanently lose his foot, she said.

Medics took the boy to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. He was later flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment of his injuries.

Farnworth said the crime was one of recklessness and not of intent, which was why she was not asking for jail time. She argued McManus needed to be held accountable for his actions in a way that would still allow him to be a part of his son’s life.

The prosecutor said the boy was conscious throughout the incident and the ensuing 911 call.

“I’m sure that will haunt the father for the rest of his life,” Farnworth said.

The boy’s mother spoke during the hearing and said her son is doing “incredibly well.”

“He spent the summer as a happy and energetic child,” she said.

The boy has been fitted with a prosthesis and attends weekly physical therapy sessions, his mother said.

She asked the judge for leniency concerning McManus’ driving privileges. She said she wanted McManus to be able to help drive their son to appointments and events.

McManus declined to speak during the hearing. His attorney, Mike Flinn, said it was tragic that it took this kind of incident for his client to realize the seriousness of his alcohol problem.

“The real impetus for Pete to get sober was reliving what happened in April,” Flinn said.

Farnworth said experts estimate McManus had a blood alcohol concentration of about 0.2 percent, which is two-and-a-half times the legal limit for driving, at the time of the incident.

Donohue said the license suspension was necessary given the magnitude of the offense.

McManus also was participating in a diversion program for a September 2016 charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants at the time of the April incident. The judge terminated diversion in that case and sentenced McManus to bench probation. Donohue also imposed a $2,000 fine.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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