A driver who fatally struck a teenager in North Dakota after a political argument is out on bail after posting a $50,000 bond. Shannon Brandt, as per county jail records, spent just days in a Stutsman County Jail on criminal charges related to the death of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.
The 41-year-old was arrested in the early morning hours of Sunday after he admitted that "he struck the pedestrian because Ellingson was threatening him". Brandt said the pedestrian called some people and he feared that they were coming to get him. He told State Radio that he hit Ellingson and that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group. Brandt said he left the scene after striking Ellingson, returned briefly, called 911, and then left again.
The court document states that Brandt had been drinking alcohol before striking Ellingson. A chemical breath test showed that his blood alcohol content was above 0.08%, the legal limit to drive. Ellingson was rushed to a hospital in Carrington where he was pronounced dead.
Investigations and Charges
Ellingson's parents told the police they knew Brandt, but did not believe that their son had threatened him. The mother said she was on her way to pick up her son from McHenry when he called her and said "that he" or "they" were chasing him. She couldn't reach him after that.
According to the affidavit, investigators tracked Brandt to his Glenfield home where they stopped him outside the house. The North Dakota Southeast District Court charged Brandt with one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide and another count of failure to perform his duty in accident involving injury or death. He was also charged with driving under the influence. Brandt was booked in the Stutsman County Correctional Center and released on Tuesday after he paid the $50,000 bond.