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GLENFIELD, N.D. — Shannon Brandt, the North Dakota man who allegedly admitted to mowing down 18-year-old Cayler Ellingson with an SUV on September 18, is described by neighbors as a “loner” with mental health conditions.
The 41-year-old is being charged with criminal vehicular homicide, as well as leaving the scene of a crash involving a death after the incident and admitted to striking Ellingson with an SUV near a bar in McHenry where a “street dance” was being held, according to a probable cause affidavit. Ellingson suffered serious injuries from the incident and later died at a local hospital.
A press release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol states that the collision was “head on.”
Brandt’s criminal history consists of arrests for unlawful possession of alcohol and fleeing a peace officer on foot in October 2006, as well as being arrested for a DUI with actual physical control in February 2002, according to records.
From Glenfield, North Dakota, Brandt’s neighbors say that he had mental health conditions, with one person who wanted to remain anonymous telling Fox News Digital that the man was “nuts his whole life” and “should have been in a [mental health] institute.”
Four of Brandt’s neighbors who spoke with Fox News Digital under the condition of anonymity said that they don’t believe the incident was motivated by politics, but rather had something to do with mental health problems.
Brandt told a 911 operator that Ellingson was part of a “Republican extremist group” and made threats against him. North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind told Fox News Digital on Thursday that there’s “no evidence” supporting the claim that Ellingson is part of a “Republican extremist group.”
He posted a $50,000 bond on Tuesday and was released from jail.
During a Monday court hearing, Brandt told a judge that he wasn’t a flight risk and disagreed with the bail amount.
“I have a job, a life and a house and things that I don’t exactly want to see go by the wayside — family that are very important to me,” Brandt said.
A neighbor told Fox News Digital that Brandt “had too much to drink” on the night of the incident and would go on “rampages” when he’s drunk. Brandt’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit 0.08, a breathalyzer test later showed, the affidavit states.
Brandt was handed an “extremely low” bail for what he did, the neighbor also said, stating that it should have been much higher.
One of the neighbors Fox News Digital spoke with said that the incident has left community-members devastated.
“I can’t get my head around it. I still don’t know,” the neighbor said.
“That’s all anybody can talk about right now. I mean, it’s only been a week,” the neighbor added.
Just around two and a half hours before the incident, the neighbor was at the bar with Brandt, and said that everything seemed normal.
“This happened over two and a half hours after we left [the bar]. So I don’t know what happened after that,” the neighbor said.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
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