Severe Weather Alerts

Clive Man’s Drowning Death Ruled Accidental

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

VERSAILES, Missouri - A jury has ruled the death of a Clive man while in custody of the the Missouri State Highway Patrol was accidental.

Brandon Ellingson, 20, drowned in May in the Lake of the Ozarks while in custody of a Missouri State trooper. Ellingson was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. He was being moved across the lake on a state patrol boat when he fell or jumped into the water. Ellingson was handcuffed and wearing a life vest, but he slipped out of the jacket.

During a coroner's inquest Thursday, a jury ruled that the death was accidental.

Trooper Anthony Piercy originally reported that Ellingson either fell or jumped out of the boat. On Thursday, another trooper testified they don't know how Ellingson got in to the water.

There were also questions raised about Trooper Piercy's training. Piercy testified that he received several weeks of training but added he still didn't have as much training as he thought he should have.

Witnesses testified Piercy did everything he could to save Ellingson, eventually jumping in the water himself, but Ellingson slipped through his arms.

Troopers also confirmed none of the three cameras on board the boat were working and Piercy knew it when he went out on patrol.

The coroner says toxicology tests showed cocaine and alcohol in Ellingson`s blood. An attorney for the Ellingson family says that’s even more reason the trooper should have properly secured Brandon.

“Had he done what he was trained to do, Brandon Ellingson would be alive,” says attorney Matt Boles.



  • Anon

    I don’t believe it matters what his blood alcohol level or the TRACE of cocaine amount was.. Regardless. He should still be alive and the trooper shouldn’t have been on the water if he believed he didn’t have proper training. Brandon did not deserve to die because he was intoxicated.

    • off2golfing

      With that blood alcohol level and operating a boat, he is lucky he didn’t kill someone. He deserves part of the blame for what happened to him, He wasn’t a child. He made a choice too.

  • Right Wing Patriot

    Home-cookin’ going on folks. The chemicals that were in his system is irrelevant. in fact, the trooper should have execised MORE caution due to that fact. Sue their butts for everything they have.

    • Captain Chaos

      @ nearly 3.5 times the legal limit (impairment) it is no wonder that he didn’t kill someone who is actually innocent, like someone’s kids or vacationing family, then we would have an entirely different article. + everyone who uses illicit substances like cocaine is just misunderstood, RIGHT?
      It’s just an unfortunate accident. Everyone loses. It’s hard to put total blame on either party. He put himself in harms way by getting caught drinking underage and the officer certainly wasn’t following correct procedures that day. It’s a bad deal for all involved.

  • zn0rseman

    Again… The wording of the press releases needs to be updated to be accurate.

    Brandon “Ellington was handcuffed and wearing a life vest, but slipped out of the jacket.”

    That is misleading. He was never wearing the life jacket because it was draped over his head his arms were not in it. So by saying he was “wearing a life jacket but it slipped off” is false because a life jacket draped over someone’s head will pop off instantly if they hit the water.

    Also, he was handcuffed so how on earth did they expect him, or anyone, to survive falling out of the boat.

    Also , the police have been saying from the beginning that he ” fell or jumped out of the boat” and we find out today that they really have no idea how he fell out of the boat. Vegas odds are that he was thrown out of the boat and that the officer had no idea when it happened or where he was when he fell out without any sort of life preservation device attached. Conveniently we’ll never know since the boat is somehow magically missing the data cards from all three of its high tech cameras that the tax payers bought to monitor what really happened in crazy situations like this.

    • zn0rseman

      I should add that when I say “thrown out” I mean that by the boat going 80MPH over huge waves while the handcuffed victim bounces around helplessly in the back. I did not mean to imply that the officer threw him out.

      • noncentsicle

        Looks like a good ole boy decision to me. Corruption in the South lives on. The coroner is a coward by sending it to inquest and not ruling on his own as to the cause of death. What happened to an event being unforeseeable in order to be classified as an accident? An unsecured life vest causing Brandon’s death certainly should be considered foreseeable. Looks like the families only recourse is in civil court as a wrongful death suit. The officer failed to use reasonable care due to his negligence by failing to secure his life vest. I won’t hold my breath though if the jury is of a similar good ole boy make-up.

  • Justice

    I wonder how long it took the cop to realize that he wasn’t even still in the boat. Incompetence comes to mind for me. The cop is responsible for the death no matter the circumstances of drinking or whatever. He’s the one that cuffed the victim and put the ‘life preserver’ on him. He did not do it properly and I hope he doesn’t get another peaceful night of sleep for the rest of his life. He now blames his training. Does the term ‘$#1+’ rolls downhill come to anybody’s mind? I fear that the victim is at the bottom of the hill in Missouri. I hope that the victim’s family is not also at the bottom of that hill.

    • off2golfing

      Victim???? Underage, totally intoxicated, operating a boat, cocaine!!! And you say victim??? Lucky some vacationing family wasn’t hurt by this “victim”. Blame is not on just the police here.

      • rea

        I couldn’t agree more! I am sick of hearing how “bright and smart” Brandon was. He should know by 20 years old, for every action, there is a reaction. Getting drunk and high, proceeding to drive a boat… ? But let’s give a ton of money to his parents and praise his soul!

      • Lady J

        Yes the cop is to blame and yes the young man who is now dead broke the law. But when he was taken into custody his life was the police officers responsibilty. And the young man died on the police officers watch. If a child drowns while I am “watching” them I am to blame not the child.

  • JodyJ

    This Just doesn’t make much sense. ONE of the Troopers should have been Sitting with him. Beside him. What Were They Doing?!! Up front? Talking, chatting, wondering where they were going for lunch?!!

    • rea

      There was only ONE trooper…. Anthony Piercy. Every story has said that…
      You’re the only thing not making sense! HAHA DURRR

  • Hope

    We all make choices in life. We can’t forget that if this young man wouldn’t of first decided to get drunk, do cocaine, then drive a boat on a very busy lake, none of this wouldn’t of happened. It is a series of bad decisions by everyone involved that led to this horrible day.

  • Steve ingram

    What’s the point of cameras if they can make up excuses for why nothing was recorded.every cops that kills accidentally an allso claims the camera didn’t work needs fired.if this cop isn’t fired people need to protest.people lose there jobs everyday for stupid stuff while cops get away with so called accidental deaths.

Comments are closed.