ND driver claims political argument preceded teen’s death

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MCHENRY, N.D. (AP) – A driver charged with fatally striking a teenager in North Dakota allegedly told investigators he purposely hit the teen with his SUV after they had a political argument, according to court documents.

Cayler Ellingson, 18, was struck and killed following a street dance in McHenry early Sunday. The driver accused of striking Ellingson in an alley, Shannon Brandt, 41, is charged in Foster County with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death.

Jail records from Stutsman County, where Brandt was being held, show he posted $50,000 bond Tuesday and was released. His attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

Brandt told investigators he left the scene after striking Ellingson, returned briefly, called 911 and then left again, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The court document said Brandt told investigators he had been drinking alcohol before striking Ellingson and thought the teen was calling people to do him harm after they argued and that he felt threatened. Ellingson was rushed to a hospital in Carrington, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators arrested Brandt at his home in Glenfield later Sunday. Officials said he consented to a chemical breath test which showed his blood alcohol content was above 0.08%, the legal limit to drive.


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