U.S. News


Officer Placed On Leave After Handcuffed Suspect Drowns

Over the weekend, a handcuffed man in the custody of the Missouri Water Patrol drowned after jumping or falling over the side of the patrol boat.
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 02, 2014

​A Missouri Water Patrol officer has been placed on administrative leave after his suspect entered the water and drowned while in handcuffs.   

The events unfolded at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri this past weekend. The officer, who KSDK reports could be named Anthony C. Piercy, made a routine arrest on the lake and detained 20-year-old Brandon E. Ellingson on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Ellingson was handcuffed behind his back and placed on the officer's boat. KMIZ explains what happened next. (Via KY3-TVKNXV)

"While he was being transported by Highway Patrol, investigators say he either fell or jumped overboard from the patrol boat. At one point Ellingson's life vest came off as well."

The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating the case. Police have not officially named the officer involved, but the name Anthony C. Piercy was listed as the driver on the drowning incident report. That same report says Ellingson was wearing a life preserver while in the boat but wasn't secured in his seat.

Still, why exactly Ellingson entered the water remains a mystery, and police have not said whether foul play should be considered. KCTV has more details about what happened after. (Via KMSB)

"While in custody, while on a water boat, Brandon Ellingson stood up in the moving boat, stepped to the edge and either fell or jumped overboard.  A water patrol officer jumped into the water to try and rescue Ellingson but was unable to do so." (Via KCTV)

Springfield News-Leader also spoke with Water Patrol Sgt. Paul Reinsch about the case.

"The officer and Ellingson were the only people on the boat. Reinsch said he was not sure how fast the boat was going because of factors like the boat model, traffic and water conditions." (Via Springfield News-Leader)

Following police protocol, the water patrol officer had placed the man into the boat to bring him to shore and conduct a field sobriety test because it's "hard to do some of the tests on water." (Via State of Missouri)

Family members declined to discuss details about Ellingson's death but said they might pursue a lawsuit. An extended report and autopsy is expected to be released later this week.