DES MOINES, Iowa – A special prosecutor is reviewing the case of a Clive man who drowned while in the custody of a Missouri State High Patrol trooper.
Brandon Ellingson, 20, drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks after being handcuffed and taken into custody for allegedly boating while intoxicated. Witnesses said 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.
Special prosecutor Amanda Grellner told the Kansas City Star she has received new information and will be reviewing the case.
During a coroner’s inquest in September, 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 said she would not file criminal charges.
In December, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he would review the case for possible criminal or civil rights violations following a request from Iowa Senator Charles Grassley.
Ellingson’s family filed two lawsuits following their son’s death. The lawsuits accuse the Missouri State Patrol of negligence. They also claim the Morgan County coroner conspired to cover up the facts in Ellingson’s death. The coroner ruled there was no wrongdoing on the part of the state patrol.
“We know a lot about what happened but there is lot that hasn’t been uncovered to us that we know about and we just want the truth to the come out and the people responsible to come forward and tell the truth,” Craig Ellingson, Brandon’s father, told Channel 13 Jodi’s Whitworth in December.
A witness from Missouri drove to Iowa and talked with Channel 13. Larry Moreau says he supports the lawsuits. He and his family were at the lake that day of the incident and saw Brandon standing up in the patrol boat. Moreau say he did not see Ellingson fall into the water but he believes that’s the part authorities are keeping from the public. Moreau did say he saw the trooper maneuver his boat quickly towards the man in the water but didn’t immediately reach in to grab Ellingson.