An Arizona State University student who was arrested by Missouri Water Patrol officers on suspicion of boating while intoxicated, drowned in handcuffs over the weekend after he went overboard while he was being transported by officers on a patrol boat.
The student, Brandon E. Ellingson, 20, was arrested on Saturday evening after he was seen driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks with a few passengers, according to KSDK.
It is unclear if Ellingson jumped overboard or simply fell overboard accidentally, but the incident is now the focus of an investigation and the unidentified officer who was driving the patrol boat has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Sgt. Paul Reinsch, water patrol spokesman, said as soon as Ellingson went in the water the officer recognized what happened right away.
"He realized immediately that the man went into the water," said Rensch.
He noted that Ellingson was wearing a life jacket, unfortunately for the student, it did not stay on him after he went into the water.
Rensch also highlighted that Ellingson was placed in a seat during the transport, but because there are no seatbelts in the boat he was not secure. A dive team fished his body from the water at 11:26 a.m. Sunday, 80 feet below the surface where he first entered the water near one of the deepest parts of the lake called Gravois Arm.
A full report on the incident might be available next week.
Gloria Ellingson, the student's grandmother, said he recently graduated from Valley High School in West Des Moines. He was studying business in college and hoped to work with his father at Glacier Properties in Clive after he graduated.
"You know what, he was perfect. He was handsome, he was very very smart," said his grandmother. "He could joke with you. He could be on any level. There wasn't anybody like him."
The family, she said, may pursue a lawsuit.