$9 Million Settlement Reached After Iowa Man Dies In Missouri Highway Patrol Custody

Nov 17, 2016

The parents of an Iowa man who drowned while in custody of the Missouri Highway Patrol will receive a $9 million settlement.

On May 31, 2014, 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson was on a weekend trip to the Lake of Ozarks in Missouri, when he was taken into custody under suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Officer Anthony Piercy hand cuffed Ellingson and took him aboard his patrol boat. At some point Ellingson fell overboard and drowned.

Ellingson's family sued, claiming his death could have been prevented if Piercy had been sufficiently trained and not operated his patrol boat at such high speeds, despite rough water.

This $9 million settlement concludes the civil case, but an involuntary manslaughter charge against Piercy is still pending. He faces up to seven years in prison. 

Ellingson was a graduate of Valley High School in West Des Moines, and had been attending Arizona State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Epsilon Fraternity.