Shannon Brandt, 41, called North Dakota Highway Patrol Sunday, admitting that he’d struck a pedestrian in an alleyway in McHenry with his 2003 Ford Explorer head-on.
His victim was Cayler Ellingson, 18, who had just been at a street dance in the area. Brandt claimed Ellingson was part of a Republican extremist group, according to the report from the highway patrol, and the two had gotten into an argument over politics.
Shortly after hitting Ellingson with his car, Brandt did not remain on the scene and allegedly returned home, despite being the first to call 911. As a result, North Dakota Southeast District Court charged him with one felony count of criminal vehicular homicide and another count of failure to perform his duty in an accident involving injury or death.
Brandt was booked in the Stutsman County Correctional Center and released Tuesday after paying his $50,000 bond, which was significantly higher than the bonds set for inmates released in the last 72 hours. At Stutsman County Jail, Brandt consented to an alcohol breath test, which found he was above the legal limit of 0.08, according to a declaration of probable cause obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Ellingson had attempted to call his mother for help, but Brandt believed the calls were being made to people to get him instead, according to the highway patrol report. Ellingson’s mother, Sheri Larson Ellingson, arrived on the scene shortly after the first responders arrived. Her son died of his injuries at Carrington Hospital.
A subsequent fundraising campaign for the Ellingson family has raised over $20,000 toward his funeral expenses. Ellingson’s funeral is set for Sept. 26, according to the fundraiser.
North Dakota Highway Patrol reports 73 fatalities in 72 crashes in 2022 so far.
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