North Dakota man who ran down ‘Republican’ teen says he doesn’t want his own life, job in jeopardy

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That North Dakota man accused of killing a teenager with his car after a “political argument” said he did not understand the charges against him during a recent court hearing.

Shannon Brandt, 41, used just a few days in a Stutsman County jail on criminal charges related to the death of 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson before he posted his $50,000 bond and was released, according to county jail records.

He is charged with vehicular manslaughter and leaves the scene of the accident.

“I don’t understand the differences,” he told a judge during a court hearing Monday before he was released, according to video footage from a local news outlet.

Brandt objected to the bail amount, saying he was not a flight risk.


Shannon Brandt, 41, is accused in the vehicular death of a North Dakota teenager, which he claimed happened after a political argument.

Shannon Brandt, 41, is accused in the vehicular death of a North Dakota teenager, which he claimed happened after a political argument.
(Foster County Sheriff)

“I have a job and a life and a house and things that I don’t exactly want to see down the road — family that’s very important to me,” he said.

Brandt was arrested Sunday morning after telling first responders he hit the teenager because the pedestrian threatened him,” according to a probable cause statement to Fox News Digital Wednesday morning.

He “stated that the pedestrian called some people and Brandt was afraid they were coming to get him,” the document continues. “Brandt admitted to state radio that he hit the pedestrian and that the pedestrian was part of a Republican extremist group.”

The North Dakota Highway Patrol on Sunday reported that there was a “street dance” on Jones Street near Hohneck Street in McHenry when Brandt struck Ellingson and then fled the scene.

Ellingson was rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries, where he died. Brandt’s and Ellingson’s families both showed up at the scene soon after after the police arrivedshows court records.

Ellingson’s parents said they knew Brandt, but they didn’t believe the teenager did it. His mother described how she was on her way to pick up her son from McHenry when he called her saying “that ‘he’ or ‘they’ were chasing him.” She could no longer reach him after that.

“Brandt admitted to striking the pedestrian with his car because he had a political argument with the pedestrian and believed the pedestrian was encouraging people to come get him,” the court document continues. “Brandt admitted to leaving the scene of the accident and returned a short time later where he called 911.”


A breathalyzer test later showed Brandt’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit of 0.08.

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