Ironton man pleads guilty to vehicular assault

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2005

An Ironton area man pleaded guilty Wednesday to hitting a South Point man with a car - behavior that provoked a stern admonition from a judge and got him four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation.

The mother of the victim said the March incident had racial overtones.

Shannon Lewis, 23, of 912 County Road 119, told Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown he was indeed guilty of second-degree felonious assault and second-degree misdemeanor criminal damaging.

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Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson said Lewis got into a disagreement with the victim over a woman and began calling the victim and making comments that were racial in nature.

The disagreement escalated from there.

"At some point they agreed to meet at Lowe's (in Burlington)," Anderson said. "The defendant came at the victim -

we're thankful there were no serious injuries."

During the incident, the victim's car was also damaged.

Lewis' attorney, Chris Delawder, said there were some discrepancies between the prosecution's recount of the incident and the defendant's.

But he assured McCown that his client regrets what happened, has never been in trouble before and is not likely to ever be in trouble again.

"He certainly is very concerned about this and has taken the matter very seriously," Delawder said. "Š He has a young child, a family, he doesn't do drugs, he doesn't drink alcohol."

The victim's mother told the court the incident has left her 19-year-old son fearful and reclusive.

"To not know someone and leave vicious messages about his race," she said. "He doesn't sleep, he's seeing a counselor. The physical part isn't all that but the mental is."

McCown said the racial overtones of the case greatly concerned him.

"I have a real problem with that," he said. "I take great offense to people using slur words toward anyone. I have a real problem with people trying to take matters into their own hands. Things happen, things escalate. That's what happened here."