Handcuffed Man Drowned Tragically in Lake of the Ozarks

Life Jacket with Three Buckles Came Off Handcuffed Man

Young twenty-year-old Brandon E. Ellingson of Clive, Iowa drowned tragically at around 5.30 p.m. on Saturday in Lake of the Ozarks while his hands were handcuffed behind his back. Brandon Ellingson was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated and transported in a police boat which had no seatbelts. Missouri State Patrol Sergeant Reinsch said that Ellingson was wearing a standard Level 3 life jacket at the time he was transported across the lake.

Brandon Ellingson went off the boat. It is uncertain if he fell or jumped in the water. How the life jacket with three buckles in front came off from a handcuffed Ellingson will be a key part of the Missouri Highway Patrol’s investigation. Sergeant Reinsch refused to discuss arrest protocol on the water with the media.

Gloria Ellingson, heartbroken grandmother of Brandon Ellingson, says her grandson was handsome and smart. He graduated in 2012 from Valley High School in West Des Moines and studied at Arizona State University. His future plans included working with his father at Glacier Properties in Clive.

The body of Brandon Ellingson was recovered the following morning at about eighty feet under the water. Sergeant Reinsch said the Missouri State Highway Patrol policies require anyone arrested to be placed in handcuffs. According to the sergeant, Ellingson stood up in the boat, after which he went over board and the officer did try to rescue Brandon.

The sergeant also stated that the life jacket was on, and it somehow came loose at some point after Ellingson entered the water. A water patrol report posted online listed Anthony Piercy as the officer driving the patrol boat at the time of the incident. This was no boating accident, but a wrongful death of the most egregious kind.

Making an Arrest

Officers cannot arrest someone without being able to justify their arrest. The officer must have observed a crime, have probable cause to believe that the arrested person committed a crime or have an arrest warrant.

When the police or patrols arrest someone, they take away that person’s right to freedom. A police officer that places a person in restraints assumes responsibility for that person’s well being. A handcuffed person might be off balance and prone to fall.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that when a police officer handcuffs you, they are taking away your freedom of movement. The Fourth Amendment states the police cannot do it without disclosing their reason for doing so. Before officers use handcuffs, they must be satisfied that there is reasonable apprehension of violence, there is a lawful arrest, the arrested person attempted to escape or restraint is necessary for the safety of the officer or the other person.

A police officer is allowed to handcuff you. It is important for the officer to articulate circumstances and facts that would lead an officer to believe there is a reasonable safety concern. According to the United States Supreme Court, an officer’s use of handcuffs must be in compliance with case and statutory law.

The rules regarding what an officer must do while making the arrest varies by jurisdiction. In 1966, the United Supreme Court ruled in Miranda versus Arizona that individuals who are under arrest for suspicion of having committed a crime have certain rights that must be explained to them before any questioning may occur.

Officers generally restrain people to protect themselves, protect the handcuffed person, or protect others from the restrained person. Restraining a person gives the officer greater self-protection and control.

Main Reasons for Boating Accidents in Missouri

Missouri is home to more lakes than almost any other state in the United States. Boating while intoxicated is one of the main contributing causes for deaths on the Missouri lakes and rivers. In 2010, boating while under the influence of alcohol contributed to the deaths of 126 people and 293 injured. Many tragic accidents also occur because of speeding, inexperience or boaters being distracted. Bad weather and defective boat parts can also place boaters in danger. According to the United States Coast Guard, eighty-eight percent of people who drown in boating accidents are not wearing a life jacket.

Keep the Waterways Safe

The Missouri State Highway Patrol requires all boats to be properly maintained. You cannot operate a boat unless you are over the age of fourteen. All boat operators are required to pass a safety course and must be registered with the State. Boaters are considered negligent if they do not follow the safety rules.

Christopher Dixon

Personal Injury Attorney at The Dixon Injury Firm
Christopher R. Dixon is the managing attorney and founder of The Dixon Injury Firm. The Dixon Injury Firm has helped injury victims recover over $35,000,000 through verdicts, settlements and judgments. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and among their Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorneys. Recognized as a Lifetime Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Chris aggressively fights for those injured through the careless, negligent and intentional conduct of others. Call today for a FREE consultation by calling 314-409-7060 or toll-free 855-402-7274.

Latest posts by Christopher Dixon (see all)

This entry was posted in Boating Accidents. Bookmark the permalink.