North Dakota driver charged with fatally striking teenager says he purposely hit the teen after a political argument

According to court documents, a driver accused of fatally assaulting a teen in North Dakota reportedly told investigators that he intentionally hit the teen with his SUV after a political argument.

18-year-old Keller Ellingson died and died after a street dance at McHenry early Sunday. The driver accused of hitting Ellingson in an alleyway, Shannon Brandt, 41, has been charged with vehicular homicide in Foster County and left the scene of the accident that resulted in her death.

Keller Ellingson


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

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

The court document said that Brandt told investigators that he had been drinking before attacking Ellingson and felt that the teen was calling people to harm him and that he felt threatened. Ellingson was taken to a hospital in Carrington, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators arrested Brandt from his Glenfield home later on Sunday. Officials said he agreed to a chemical breath test that showed his blood alcohol content was more than 0.08%, the legal limit for driving.

Captain Brian Niewind of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, who helped investigate the death, said the political argument’s claim by Brandt has not been substantiated because the investigation is still ongoing and more witnesses are needed to be interviewed. Specific details of the alleged argument were not released.

The affidavit said that Ellingson’s parents later told police they knew Brandt, but did not believe their son did. Ellingson’s mother described how she was going to pick up her son from McHenry when she called him at about 2:40 and asked if she knew Brandt. Ellingson called again after a while and said “that ‘he’ or ‘they’ were following her.” After that she could not reach him, the document said.

According to a preliminary news release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol, a Ford Explorer hit a pedestrian who was “seriously injured” and later died.

A GoFundMe for Ellingson had raised more than $27,000 as of Thursday morning.

The page says that Ellingson “been to heaven and will be missed by many family and friends of his mom, dad, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin.”

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