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County commissioner takes plea arrangement in DUI case

By Staff | Aug 17, 2018

Lee County Commissioner John Manning opted out of a trial and submitted a no contest plea on a charge of willful wanton reckless driving with alcohol as a factor.

Manning was originally charged with driving under the influence, as well as two counts of DUI with property damage.

The plea arrangement was accepted by County Judge Archie Hayward Jr. Manning was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to court costs, cost of prosecution, a $500 fine, 12 months of probation, no possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs and must undergo random screenings, six months business purpose only driver’s license restriction, DUI school, 50 community service hours, victim impact panel or Lee Memorial high risk driver’s course and restitution to the driver of the vehicle into which he crashed.

Restitutions are as follows:

* $19,158.08 to Justine Maher with minimum monthly payments of $1,550.

* $3,876.32 to Conduent Payment Integrity Solutions or Bank of America.

Maher did provide a statement to the court and also confirmed on the record that she was in agreement with the plea offer, according to Samantha Syoen, State Attorney’s Office spokesperson.

The other charges were “nolle prossed,” or not prosecuted.

The incident took place last September when Manning ran a red light and struck Maher’s car with his before driving into a light pole in a Bank of America parking lot, the crash report states.

A Cape Coral Police Department officer responded to the crash and noticed that Manning showed signs of impairment, according to the arrest report.

Manning stated he was returning from dinner where, he told the officer, he had a glass and a half of wine the document said.

Field sobriety tests were initiated that Manning performed poorly on and a breathalyzer test was conducted in which he blew a 0.105, which is above the limit at which a person is legally deemed impaired, according to the report. The impairment level in Florida is .08.

Manning was transported to Lee County Jail where he later bonded out.

Initially, Manning had pleaded not guilty and was going to try the case in court, but ultimately decided to forego trial.

His attorney, Sawyer Smith, did not return a phone call made as of press time Thursday afternoon.

Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj