Missouri trooper charged in handcuffed Iowa man’s drowning

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VERSAILLES, MO - A Missouri Highway Patrol trooper with limited training as a water patrol officer is now charged with involuntary manslaughter. The accusation comes nearly 20 months after the drowning death of Iowan Brandon Ellingson at the Lake of the Ozarks. Ellingson was arrested by Trooper Anthony Piercy for drunk boating.

Special prosecutor William Seay said that Trooper Piercy "took an unjustifiable risk. " He charged him with recklessly causing Ellingson's death.

According to Seay  Trooper Piercy handcuffed the 20 year old man and then put a life jacket over his head without properly securing it. As the trooper drove the patrol boat he hit a wake and his suspect fell out of the boat. The lifejacket popped off and Ellingson drowned.

Craig Ellingson, the drowning victims father, said "I think Brandon is smiling down on us and appreciates what we are doing and we are not going to quit until we get justice. "Ellingson believes that there was an effort to cover up what happened.

The Missouri Highway Patrol placed Piercy on unpaid leave. If he is convicted he could face up to seven years in prison.