The North Dakota man who has been accused of mowing down a teenager over a “political argument” pleaded with the judge not to hold him on bail, saying he does not want to lose his job, house or family because of the high amount.
Shannon Brandt, 41, was released on $50,000 bond Tuesday after being charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the death of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson.
During a court hearing on Monday, Brandt said he did not understand the charges against him — and objected to the bail amount, saying that he was not a flight risk.
“I have a job, a life and a house and things that I don’t exactly want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me,” he said, according to Fox News Digital.
Brandt was arrested on Sunday morning after he called 911 to report that he had struck a pedestrian who he claimed was threatening him.
Brandt stated that the pedestrian “called some people and Brandt was afraid they were coming to get him,” a probable-cause affidavit sated. “Brandt admitted to State Radio that he hit the pedestrian and that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group.”
First responders who arrived on the scene in an alley near Johnson Street and Jones Avenue in McHenry found Ellingson, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Responding deputies then tracked Brandt to his home in Glenfield, located about 12 minutes away from the crash site.
The 41-year-old allegedly admitted to drinking alcohol before hitting Ellingson and initially leaving the scene of the crash.
Brandt said he later returned to call 911 but took off again before cops arrived.
A breathalyzer test determined that Brandt’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of 0.08.
According to court documents, Ellingson called his mother before he was hit, asking her if she knew who Brandt was. She said yes and told her son she was on the way to pick him up.
A short time later, Ellingson called his mother again to say that “he” or “they” were chasing him. That was the last time she heard from the 18-year-old.
A family friend who started a GoFundMe campaign to help Ellingson’s parents, Sheri and Cole Ellingson, with his funeral expenses, described the 18-year-old as a “wonderful young man” who had “his whole adult life ahead of himself.”
“So much stripped away from himself and from his family,” Nicole Clifton Geiszler wrote in an update. “They now have to endure a path no parent wants, no parent should have to endure. His innocent life he had yet to look forward to and live for. His parents will never see their young son graduate college, get married or have grandchildren.”
Brandt is currently out on bail. He has not yet entered a plea and is due back in court on Oct. 11.