No Criminal Charges to be Filed in Ellingson’s Drowning Death

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A Missouri prosecutor has decided not to file criminal charges against a Missouri state trooper in connection with the drowning of a Clive man Last May.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Ellingson drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks after being handcuffed and taken into custody for allegedly boating while intoxicated. Witnesses say his life jacket wasn’t put on him properly and it came off Ellingson when he slipped or fell out of Trooper Anthony Piercy’s boat.

During a coroner’s inquest last week, Piercy testified he wasn’t trained on how to use life jackets. The jury decided the drowning was accidental, which is one of the reasons Special Prosecutor Amanda Grellner says she will not file criminal charges.

Colonel Ronald K. Replogle, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, released a statement Monday saying “As with any critical event, I wanted to personally assure the public the Patrol will continue the review of all procedures related to this incident. Again, I want to extend my sincerest condolences to the Ellingson family for the tragedy they have endured with the loss of their son.”


  • JstLvng

    when are his parents going to own up to him drinking underage and operating a boat? AND having drugs in his system. Accidents happen. Sounds like him being behind the wheel of the boat was an ‘accident’ too right?? Let it go. He was at fault for having himself in the troopers boat. Own up to it!

  • dan

    He wasn’t trained on how to put on life jackets……… How pathetic is that? Does this mean when you arrest someone you should be trained to shut the car door too?

  • John

    “Slipped or fell” out of the officers boat and wasn’t trained to put on a life jacket. Let me get this straight, they don’t know how he ended up in the lake while in the officers custody and the officer claims to not be “trained” to put on a life jacket and there’s no guilt here? Think about this, most children can figure out how to put on a life jacket, not to mention he is doing patrols in a boat and probably wears one himself daily.

    As far as the excuse he was operating a boat under the influence, if he had drowned on his own without being in custody and handcuffed it would have been his own fault, however once he was arrested,handcuffed and in custody he became the officers responsibility.

    • Sue

      who’s fault would it have been if, while operating a boat drunk and high, he had hit a family full of boaters and killed them? The trooper’s for not arresting him?
      Obviously it couldn’t have been Brandon’s fault, he was a star Valley football player and a 4.0 student. Valley football plays, like Iowa Football players, don’t do anything wrong.
      While I sympathize with this young man’s family and friends, I think there is a level of responsibility that falls on him as well. It has been proven that he was drinking underage and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of both alcohol and illegal drugs. While HE DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE FOR THOSE CRIMES had he been driving his boat safely and celebrating the weekend with a Pepsi instead of a ‘coke’ and a Budweiser, he would still be alive.

  • EMS

    In the state of MO, the person who supplies alcohol to a minor is also liable for injuries or deaths resulting from the occurance. Are there some parents or buddies who are legally responsible for Ellingson’t death for supplying alcohol to him? The patrolman wouldn’t have had to arrest him otherwise…

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