Missouri State Trooper Anthony Piercy has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 drowning of an Iowa man at the Lake of the Ozarks. A special prosecutor in the Morgan County Courthouse in Versailles, Mo. filed the charge today against Piercy.
Brandon Ellingson, 20, drowned on Memorial Day, 2014 while in the custody of Piercy. Charges state Piercy wrecklessly caused the death of Ellingson by handcuffing his hands behind his back and not properly securing his life jacket.
Ellingson fell overboard and his life jacket came off. Attempts to rescue him failed.
A coroner’s inquest ruled that the drowning was accidental. It said that Ellingson’s blood-alcohol content was more than three times the legal limit when he was driving a boat.
Piercy has been a trooper 19 years and volunteered to move to its water patrol division after the Highway Patrol took over the water-safety force. Piercy later said he had not been adequately trained to be out on the water.
The Highway Patrol was informed of the charge and Piercy has been placed on leave without pay.
J.T. Gerlt of KTKS contributed to this story.