Driver admits intentionally hitting teen after political argument, police say

MCHENRY, N.D. — A man is facing several charges, including vehicular homicide, after investigators said he hit and killed a teenager with his car following a political argument.

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The North Dakota Highway Patrol said in a news release that Shannon Brandt was arrested after hitting and killing 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson, a pedestrian, on Sept. 18. Brandt was charged with DUI-related vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving a fatality.

Brandt, 41, told investigators that he left the scene after hitting Ellingson, then returned to the scene to call 911, before leaving again, according to an affidavit obtained by The Associated Press. The affidavit said that Brandt also told investigators that he had been drinking alcohol before hitting Ellingson, and that he had intentionally hit the teenager because he felt threatened after a political argument.

When he called 911, Brandt told a dispatcher that the Ellingson was “part of a Republican extremist group,” CNN reported.

According to court documents obtained by KVLY, Ellingson had called his mother before the crash to ask if she knew Brandt. A short time later, Ellingson’s mother told officers that her son called back to say that “he” or “they” were chasing him. After that, she was unable to reach her son.

Brandt was released from the Stutsman County Correctional Center on a $50,000 bond, according to jail records.