Branstad For Governor: Iowa’s Terry Branstad Tough On Crime If It Doesn’t Involve His Family

By | June 7, 2010

by Brian A. Wilkins

Terry Branstad’s son, Eric, killed two people in a 1991 car “accident.”


DES MOINES — This article must be prefaced with the fact that, as an Iowan born and raised, and in my 30s now, I grew up only knowing one governor. That is Republican Terry Branstad. He served as the state’s chief executive from 1983-1999. It seemed Iowa was doing pretty well in his years. But I was just a kid and really didn’t care much about politics. Voters are heading to the polls tomorrow in the Republican primary. Unfortunately, Branstad’s possible preferential treatment for his family when it comes to crime will always tarnish his legacy.

Eric Branstad, Terry’s then-16-year-old son, was driving to a friend’s house  near Granger, Iowa on Sunday afternoon, August 18, 1991. The governor and the rest of the family were in Seattle for a National Governors Association meeting. While driving up Highway 141, a two-lane highway, Eric pulled into the other lane to pass a car when the coast was obviously not clear. One car avoided a head-on collision by quickly swerving onto the shoulder. A second car was sideswiped when it tried to drive between Branstad’s van and the car he was trying to pass. The third car, and its passengers, would not be as lucky.

Mr. Charles E. McCullough, 65, and his wife, Jean M. McCullough, 60, collided head-on with Branstad’s van. Iowa State trooper Mario Feck later confirmed the van was traveling at least 10 miles over the speed limit. Mrs. McCullough died at the scene. Mr. McCullough, a retired truck driver, died a short time later at the hospital. Branstad suffered only minor injuries.

The people of Iowa were subsequently made to believe that alcohol was not involved and that Branstad was sober. But this was just hard to believe. The 16-year-old Branstad only had his license for a little over a month. He almost hit three cars before killing the Des Moines couple. The news media continually referred to the deceased husband and wife as “the elderly couple” and/or “the older couple.” They focused their reporting on the condition of Branstad.

Eric was ultimately charged with a misdemeanor traffic violation. He was ordered to pay a $15 fine. The McCullough family was obviously shocked and outraged by the case’s disposition. Then-Dallas County Attorney, David Welu, said of his decision to only press a traffic charge:

“filing only traffic charges in fatal accidents is common, provided drunken, drugged, or reckless driving was not involved.”

The McCullough family and many other Iowans felt that there was more than enough evidence of recklessness. Branstad was driving at least 10 miles over the speed limit. He almost struck another car, and sideswiped another before killing Charles and Jean McCullough.

The response by Iowa authorities was also upsetting to the family. Officials at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Mercy Hospital first told the press that both Branstad and Mr. McCullough were air-lifted via helicopter. But only Branstad was air lifted. Mr. McCullough was transported by ground ambulance despite being far more seriously injured. Mercy spokeswoman Linda Montet was asked about the decision to air lift Branstad and not Mr. McCullough. She said it would “violate patient confidentiality” if she responded. A Methodist “Life Flight” helicopter was also at the scene of the accident. It also failed to air lift Mr. McCullough.

A firestorm ensued for the next few months. A young boy asked Governor Branstad at a Governor’s Youth Conference luncheon in November of 1991, “what do you think about your son getting let off the hook so easily when somebody else would be charged with manslaughter?” Branstad responded by saying the question was unfair. He also disagreed that his son was “let off.” Governor Branstad ironically pushed for a limited death penalty in Iowa for minors who commit “certain crimes” that same year.

A columnist for the Des Moines Register wrote a piece that month entitled, “Did Eric Branstad Get A Break?” The article compared the Branstad case to another car accident in Clinton County. 18-year-old Jason Van Scoyoc ran off the road and struck a family of four while they were sleeping in a tent. All of them were killed. Van Scoyoc was charged with four counts of vehicular homicide.

The Branstad’s paid the McCullough’s $200,000 on January 22, 1992 to avoid being sued in court. This settlement also open a can of worms Branstad did not want open. The van Eric was driving that struck and killed Mr. and Mrs. McCullough was actually purchased by Governor Branstad’s campaign committee. Thus the van was owned by the campaign.

Anybody who still believes Eric Branstad was not drunk the night he killed the McCullough’s are either suffering from tunnel-vision, or are simply Branstad apologists. Eric Branstad was arrested in the West Des Moines Dowling High School parking lot on charges of public intoxication on September 21, 1992. While those charges were pending, Eric was charged on January 20, 1993, with using a fake i.d. to buy beer. Eric was charged on June 7 that same year with illegal possession of alcohol after yet another car accident. The Branstad’s said Eric’s friend was driving when their Jeep Cherokee crashed into a utility poll. The vehicle that the friend crashed, however, was in Governor Branstad’s name.

Eric pleaded guilty to mere alcohol possession with all the aforementioned charges pending. He was given a year of probation by a Polk County judge. Eric was sent to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, MO, by his parents. Eric Branstad never spent one day in jail through all of his criminal shenanigans, despite turning 18 and no longer being a minor on July 18, 1993. But this reality did not stop the young Branstad. He always knew somehow his father would get him off. Sounds kind of like George H.W. and George W.

We can only hope Eric doesn’t somehow try and follow in his father’s footsteps anytime in the future.

In 2001, Eric Branstad was convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), according to court records. He was sentenced to probation again, and Terry Branstad was not even governor at the time. He had also been charged with possession of a controlled substance, but that charge was dismissed. Eric was cited for driving while suspended in 2005 in Scott County.

Terry Branstad campaigned in the 1990s on enacting the death penalty for minors for certain crimes. Though his agenda never made it into law, what this says is that your children can be killed by the State of Iowa for screwing up, but his kid is given pass after pass.

It would be an upset if Branstad is not “re-elected” as governor, simply because of his name recognition in Iowa. But if Branstad will let his son skate after killing two people, what other political malfeasance has he been a part of, or will he be a part of if re-elected?

Sarah Palin recently endorsed Branstad for governor of Iowa, which will also help his plight among the “right” and “tea party” voters (though Palin followers on Facebook don’t seem pleased with the endorsement). Terry Branstad is not a bad human being. He’s just another bad politician who will bend the rules of law for his own agenda and people.

Branstad comfortably leads his GOP opponents in the polls. Sioux City business consultant Bob Vander Plaats and state Rep. Rod Roberts of Iowa’s 51st District are both well behind.

89 thoughts on “Branstad For Governor: Iowa’s Terry Branstad Tough On Crime If It Doesn’t Involve His Family

  1. J Hamilton

    I did not hear any actual proof of Eric’s driving while intoxicated in the accident that killed two people…only assumptions which are not valid enough for me. I can relate to the seriousness of the situation and feel deep sorrow for the family of the victims however trying to spin the results of this accident won’t bring back the McCulloughs. Eric was 16 yrs old and only had his license for ONE month. He lacked experience and made an extremely bad call on judgement, one I’m sure he’ll never forget. I, myself, would not have let a child of mine make a drive that far from home under those circumstances although I don’t really know if Eric was actually allowed to do so or just did so. I’ve raised 4 children and would never underestimate the potential of any child. And with living under the limelight and pressures of being a candidate’s child would not be easy either thus causing much rebellion. Instead of trying to disgrace Brandstad for something his child has done perhaps we should be looking at his own past record. Just a thought though.

    1. Jason Markle

      Growing up in Des Moines, IA: I had met Eric on more than a couple of occasions, I remember the McCulloughs incident well, His age was spun he was only 15 at the time, still had ONLY a permit. The night of the incident, the news reporter asking the initial officer, the officer had stated that Eric had alcohol on his breath (something I’d experienced) and in the vehicle it was reported “several containers in various states of consumption”. The van had been “stolen” out of the campaigns’ office as the office was closed at the time the campaign manager had reported that either a window or door had been forced. Oddly enough that officer was never heard from again, the report became that he was 16 now and that no mention of alcohol was ever brought up again till his arrest at Dowling, where they (the family) had NO choice but to admit it as there were over 15 witnesses of reliable report to the event. Back to the McCulloughs, the McCulloughs’ survivors had to APOLOGIZE to the Brandstadts for the “older couple” being in the lane at that time! Being a then 17 year old of less than poverty wage, I was UNBELIEVABLY appalled at the gall of some one advocating harsher penalties to youth for “certain” crimes. Eric Brandstadt has been repeatedly “shoved under the rug” to keep from shaming daddy. no it will not bring them back, but I will NEVER forget that spoiled little rich kid who got away with murder, I knew that road well, had traveled it on several occasions, he didn’t just exceed 10 mph over he was in excess of 35 mph over the posted speed limit of 50. The officer cited in the article was found at least 2 news reports later. Eric was in NO WAYS a good kid gone bad, this little stain of a human had had MORE than his fair share of run ins with the law that because of “juvenile law” has been expunged that only those who remember that time will tell you and as far as the “pressures” of being a candidates child, I think Ms. Clinton survived very well being the child of 1st a governor then a President accused of adultery.

      1. Sally

        Thank you for the “rest of the story”. I never understood why he even ran for office again. He has no shame for the hurt his family has caused.

      2. Paul

        How is it that he will lit his little brat of a son get away with murder but says medical cannabis is illegal.

    2. MJ

      So you think he never forgot that accident yet he has had OWI charges, buying alcohol under age and should have had his license suspended and been in prison for the three strikes law that Branstad out into play in the 90’s when people would have 3 or more OWI charges. Funny how when his son received his 3rd OWI that law changed by, holy cow, Terry Branstad. Yep you are correct, he must have Never forgotten what happend that day.

    3. Sheri

      ” Eric was 16 yrs old and only had his license for ONE month. He lacked experience and made an extremely bad call on judgement,” ” Instead of trying to disgrace Brandstad for something his child has done perhaps we should be looking at his own past record.”
      Your remarks make me sick, these were two of the loveliest people in the world. Chuck played steel guitar and Jeannie sang. Both were members of the P.M.E.C.I. and they mentored us young new Iowa artists. Chuck and Jeannie were precious, precious people whom have been missed immensely since their untimely deaths.

    4. Logan marihart

      my father was in a rehabilitation at the same time as him, a couple weeks after the incident. no no not the military camp. a rehab so unless he was there to get booze from the workers I don’t know what he was doing.

    5. Valerie Peterson

      The alcoholic incidents after the car accident that killed the two elderly people shows an undeniable history. Anyone that can’t see this is in denial. I’d love for some of you to be in the same or similar situation as these two elderly people’s loved ones and then make that same claim. Additionally, that elderly man should’ve been airlifted first and the hospital personnel lied to the public. At the least there’s more than a whiff of impropriety. Deal with it!

    6. David Gault

      You are a joke. Eric Branstad is a double murderer and his father, Terry, was complicit in the coverup. David Gault

    7. Kathy Urich

      Yes he was drinking. What proof do you need. Brandstad is as crooked as they come, do you think he would have been given a breathalyzer? Not a chance, theybkud was given preferential treatment air lifted for lesser injuries. Please.

      1. David Gault

        Kathy you are so right. I WAS a Trump supporter until he appointed Terry Branstad as Ambassador to China. Donald what in hell were you thinking? Eric Branstad working for your campaign. All Trump bumper stickers were removed from my car.

    8. Nunya Binness

      Here’s just a thought as well —

      The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      Here’s another thought —

      You “J Hamilton” sound like a pathetic little Branstad sycophant . . . My guess is you suck at the teat of the Branstad pig / administration. Suckle away

    9. David Wilson

      We no longer need to consider Eric separately, he’s now Trumps campaign manager and it’s pretty telling a rapist would choose a murderer for a buddy

    10. no

      I just saw this link on twitter, and let me say I met Eric a LOT (i was working in DSM about this time) and he was always drinking. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. I was personally present at Dowling when he got busted for drinking in the parking lot, as I had friends there at the time.

      Knowing what I know now AND what I knew then, there is no possibility this is a young boy’s tragic mistake, unless that tragic mistake is trying to abuse your get out of jail free card, which he bragged about all the fucking time.

      His sister was always nice to me, though.

  2. level headed

    This article is suggesting that Eric should have been considered for the death penalty. There has to be absolute evidence of guilt before the death penalty will even be considered. There was no proof that the young Branstad suffered from anything but lack of experience in driving. It is a horrible thing when innocent people’s lives are ended so needlessly, but to suggest that there is similarity between this case and cases that deserve the death penalty is just wrong. MANY teens that have been given “second chances” have gone on to repeat their mistakes. Usually, depending on the amount of support they have at home, the judges do all they can to return them to the care of their families. Much like being a pastor’s kid, being in the limelight and expected to excell takes its toll. It is disappointing, sad that he chose the path he did, but not surprising. There are MANY repeat offenders out on the streets that don’t have Terry Branstad as their dad. This is more about finding better ways to get teens on the right path than it is about anything Terry Branstad did wrong. I am not necessarily in agreement or support of all that Mr. Branstad stands for, but digging up a story this old and using it to slander him in the midst of a campaign is just childishly bad politics!!

    1. Tim wathen

      No. The article doesn’t say nor suggest the death penalty for TBs son. It says he is tough on crime except when it’s his child.
      He has always been ruthless at this game of politics. I remember him when we dealt with him as AFSCME members in the 80s 90s
      Now he has had a Iowa bureau investigator fired for ticketing his driver and fired a gay employee for… U guessed it – being gay
      But he denies it all
      He’s an ass and his kid got off

    2. David Gault

      Level Headed are you brain dead? Eric Branstad got a $15.00 fine. The statute to charge homicide requires recklessness. Speeding and illegally passing a car is not reckless. This parasite family are pure garbage. The Dallas County prosecutor should have been thrown out of office and charged with MALFEASANCE OF HIS PUBLIC FUNDED OFFICE. They got to this corrupt prosecutor. There is no doubt that sweet little Eric was stoned, or dunk at the time of the accident.

  3. Julie

    This article in no way is suggesting Eric should have been given the death penalty. What it shows is how Terry had no problem suggesting cracking down on other people’s children while his got let off time after time….after time. There WERE witnesses who saw him at a party in Granger that night, and look at his pattern of behavior after the accident? If you still don’t believe he was drunk, you’re living in a cave. It was never proven, because there was no blood test given to Eric. What other Iowa citizen would’ve been given such preferential treatment? No blood test given, air lifted before the seriously injured, and a $15 slap on the wrist after obviously acting recklessly at the least. Come on, people! Wake up! If Terry Branstad had one once of class or dignity, he would’ve insisted his son face the consequences of his actions, instead of trying to cover them up. I truly believe this would’ve been better for everyone involved, including Eric. But instead, Mr. Branstad put his political image first, and that’s what comes to my mind now that he’s running again. What other rules will he bend for his benefit? A person’s character must be considered thoroughly before giving them a responsibility as big as running a state. I think Branstad has proved his poor character…time and time again.

    1. David Gault

      Both Eric and his daddy should have gone to prison and I’m a republican. Terry was involved in the cover-up.

    2. I was there

      The accident was in the middle of the afternoon. I was a first responder on the scene

  4. Jessie

    I agree with Julie. Extremely poor character. His son is largely behind his re-election and I’m just shocked at their obtuseness in thinking no one will remember this. My hope is that people will remember very soon and squash his bid. Times like this make me wish I still lived in Iowa.

    1. Janice M

      Whether he was drinking or not, Eric is still responsible for 2 deaths because of poor judgement or choices. I will never believe his father didn’t feel he could excuse Eric from consequences or that there wasn’t a big thought in his mind that Eric was drinking. Why did they pay $200k for a 15 $ fine. We still have freedom of speech even unde Governor Branstad’s regime. Why not bring it up? It is an issue that should be addressed.

      1. Marilyn

        Since branstads son Eric is so above the law all these years the money Terry paid out to hush up and pay off is bribery using a government vehicle , is theft , and misuse of the taxpayers money, he has cut so many jobs in facilities, I think hard labor with Minium wages for life, should be Eric’s punishment working in a city dump with garbage, which is what he is also maybe Terry will get his punishment in china my mom always says. What goes around comes around,

  5. Larry

    Thats pretty obvious that the kid made a bad decision. Why was he allowed to drive at 16 years old when his parents where in Seattle? Why was he allowed access to a vehicle even? Why was it registered to a political organization? Branstad is responsible for the kids actions one way or the other. Typical right wing bs about family values, morals and personal responsibilty. It does not apply to themselves. If you do not think this kid was given preferential treatment because of his daddy’s status you are an idiot.

  6. level headed

    I didn’t say he wasn’t drunk. I said there is no existing proof that he was drunk and that’s all the law has to go by. The other point I feel needs to be made is that Eric being let off is not an isolated or a special case because his father was governor. Many youths are let off in hopes that their parents can find other avenues of helping them make better choices. Few judges want to see young people removed from their families and have permanent charges on their “record”. Sometimes that is for the best and other times it is tragic. To blame Terry for all of this is again, just bad politics.

  7. J Hamilton

    I’m with “level headed”. Blaming Terry for what his child did (regardless of who should be held accountable after the fact)is just bad politics. And calling me an idiot for not thinking that Eric was given preferential treatment doesn’t say much for you either. First of all, you are wrong as I DO believe there was preferential treatment involved naturally because that is just the way life is. In every aspect of life it normally boils down to “who you know” with most things. But that doesn’t mean that Terry should be punished for being who he is. He was just trying to help his child in bad times the same way anybody else would. He was using the tools he had at his disposal. All I can say is if this is the worst thing that you can dig up on Branstad than I’m still voting for him.

    1. larry welch

      If my son did each and everything Gov. Branstad[s did, I’d do everything, within my power, to avoid having to see him serve time or to have a criminal record. I’m not, actively, seeking to convince anyone that they should choose me to hold the highest office in the state: A position that assumes the responsibility of being eager to and dedicated to establishing and enforcing the law, in a way that is impartial, to each and every citizen, even the citizens who are relatives and friends and those who’s help has been valuable to my career. His desire to hold such a position disqualifies him from being able to do many of the things that, non, elected Gov. Officials, routinely do! We don’t expect a Pastor to defend his son for soliciting prostitutes even though people in the congregation might choose to do it and, still, be welcomed into the church. When a Government Official, especially a Governor abuses or violates our trust and the confidence that we have in his integrity and his determination do demonstrate that we were right to have elected him, he doesn’t or shouldn’t deserve praise. There are people with vested interest or, through their ignorance, who hold no such expectations but, if a person does, how can they help but appreciate this article.

      1. Lenore Eirual

        Visiting a prostitute and underage drinking are 2 different things in the eyes of the church typically. Also, it was found that Eric stole the campaign van from Daddy’s HQ and the police stated they could smell booze on Eric’s breath, even though there was no alcohol test given, as there should have been. Though out the whole situation, Eric was given special treatment. Is it Daddy’s fault, YES. Why? Because Governor Braindead left his UNDER AGE child at home while he was out of state and unsupervised. Gov also allowed the systems in place to get away with letting Eric to get this special treatment right from the start. At the very beginning, Eric should have been given a sobriety test or a BA test. Then the crash victims should have been air lifted for medical support. And yet, through out this whole time Gov Braindead decides that this is ALL ok as it plays out, and his son only gets off with a slap on the wrist and a measly $15 fine. Is that what 2 peoples’ lives are really worth??? Only to later buy them off with $200 Gs a short time later? Then since Eric did not learn his lesson the first time around, he continues to rack up more drunk driving charges over the years! It’s clear that what’s good for Gov Braindead and his family is not the same as for everyone else, and yet every time this idiot runs for election, they all seem to FORGET that any of this stuff ever happened and how he got his son off of 2 vehicular murder charges and REELECT THIS JERK over and OVER. WHY? His policies for Iowa are damaging not only to those directly around him but to the state as a whole in so many areas, health care, immigration, and civil rights to name a few. WAKE THE HECK UP IOWA and please PLEASE STOP REELECTING this BRAINDEAD GOVERNOR! He thinks he is some sort of god of Iowa and he is not. It’s time for a REGIME Change in this state. Isn’t being the country’s longest ruling governor enough. Time for Terry To GO!

  8. LarryBranstad

    Bad politics??
    I AM blaming Branstad for what his son did. Branstad is out of state and does not provide supervision of his 16 year old. He is responsible-end of story. You are responsible for your child until they are 18. He lets the kid drive a van registered to his reelection campaign and then the kid drives like a moron and kills two people. What was his sentence? A $15 fine. If your kid did this Branstad’s plan is to throw the book at him. But not Branstad Jr.He knows someone. This wasn’t a case of daddy getting junior a job at the sale barn. The kid got away with killing two people. I changed my mind-you are a fucking idiot.

  9. Clemmie

    I agree with Julie and Larry – His son did receive preferential treatment. He basically got a slap on the wrist for killing 2 people! He could have waited to be sent to the hospital and let the more critically injured go first. I remember the 18 year old who got slapped with 4 counts of vehicular homicide as a result of his accident.
    Iowa will not be better off with him as Governor!!

  10. Chopswell

    On voting for this article, I chose “Liked,” simply because it is a reminder of how politicians count on the ‘people’ having such short memories. Well I for one, sure haven’t forgotten any of this. And now, “little” Eric is such a staunch supporter of his daddy running again for governor. It’s like ripping a scab off an unhealed wound.

    This kid had BLATANT preferential treatment both during and after his daddy’s tenure as governor. The fact that this spoiled little brat never gets a sentence; never gets anything more than a slap on the wrist whencompared to other, similar, yet unentitled offenders, is more of a SLAP to us Iowan’s who are now being presented with Braindead as our one option of Culver this fall.

    Then, to further add insult to our short memories, he chooses Kim Reynolds from Osceola as his running mate. As you recall, she has a hard time keeping her lips off a….BOTTLE, too. 2 DUI convictions; 1999 and 2000. Oh…but she’s “SOBER and has been for 8 years!!!” Like that really matters.

    What matters here is Braindead is a hypocrite. He insults the integrity of us average Iowan’s who have paid his wages and continue with his pension (and now his campaign funding now that he was won a preliminary election).

    I would personally say it’s not too late to “PUNISH” Eric Branstad. I think a great idea would be to making him serve so many YEARS as an alcohol abuse counselor for teens (making sure he, himself is SOBER). And $200,000 to that “older couple’s” family is simply another INSULT.

    I have read thecomments above and find it a shame there are those of you who SUPPORT Braindead and EXCUSE the actions of his PRIVILEGED son. You all would definitely feel 180-degrees different if your son was involved in a similar accident and o’le Terry was pushing for the DEATH OF YOUR CHILD!!!!

    Fk Braindead and his family. I sure as hell am not going to vote for this hypocrite. He paved the way for a lot of other b.s. you rarely hear about. “Monsanto.” That’s a big one. How about “Pioneer?” O yeah. BIG CORPORATE AG-BUSINESS. Subsidies. Corn basically put in EVERYTHING.

    A winning governor would be one who would put a stop to the lawsuit threats of giant corporate ag-businesses and fight to bring back the family farms. It’s unfortunate though. That damage has already been done. (farms sold or lost through lawsuits and now corporate owned).

    Wake up, SHEEPLE!!! You are being led to slaughter by a wolf….dressed as a WOLF! He isn’t even wearing a disguise! He’s counting on you forgetting what a godam’d WOLF LOOKS LIKE!!!!

    1. lori taylor

      wow, go ahead chopswell! You couldn’t be any more correct, and anyone who votes for Braindead is just stupid. As for me, I’ll add Chopswell to my ballot.

  11. rbudzz

    our votes don’t really count proof is the fact that braindead supposedly won over Vandurplatt no one wants this asshole but we get that turd shuved down our throats.
    if they were my family well i hate to think what i would done so you get the murder branstat or the gay lover culver man what a pile of dung

  12. Nancy Gold

    It isn’t that anyone is trying to disgrace Branstad for something his son did. It is about Branstad using his power to keep his son out of prison and keep him from having charges against him that my child would have had to face. It is abuse of power.

  13. james

    hopefully people will remember it, i met a guy who was friends with his kid eric, they were in a car and branstads kid was driving and they were drinking, his son didnt have a license at the time and cop pulled them over, well branstads kid got out the car told the cop you know who my dad is if you value your job you will drive away the cop wanted to keep his job so he drove away and they went to branstads house and his son told him what happened and the cop still got fired

  14. Chopswell

    Thing that pisses me off the most is we get just TWO choices. Dumb or Dumber. When can we get a political voice that accurately represents the majority of Iowans? I’d run, but OH NO! I have an arrest history from 28 years ago when I was busted with < 1 oz. of some really good herbs. (and yes...I DID inhale!--still do!) I'd certainly be pushing for medical legalization and supporting new businesses in the "GREEN" (bud) INDUSTRY! WRITE IN CHOPSWELL for 2010! (lol)

  15. Jerry

    Amen finally somecommon sense like the graphic language am surprised this hasnt hit the tv yet what’s wrong with the media terry got your tongue???

  16. Barb Holman

    Well then let’s just all give every 16 yr old that goes out and commits vehicular manslaughter a mulligan due to their inexperience with driving under the influence. Accountability… Did young Mr. Brandstad EVER apologize to those parents?

  17. Alwayshere

    I remember how saddened the victims family was and how their son fought for justice never received. Its amazing how this goes on and on generation after generation. The redneck folk just want their own kind in office. And the people who fail to read up on the past of the person running for public office is no excuse either. I am sure his drunk/drug/driving days are not behind him, maybe father and son will go head to head on 235 someday and do us all a favor?

  18. jon

    he was talking about branstads record, his record includes getting his son out of trouble numerous times, including vehicular manslaughter. Which to me is an abuse of power.

  19. Amy Williams

    just a mom i have a son who was facing 15 years for driving drunk , he had his little girl with him and he hit a van noone was killed but was hurt i thank god everyday no one was killed that was in 2008 on january 29 2010 he was convicet to 5 years in prison for this his first offense dont understand why some people get off and others pay do they pay for the ones that have polotics and money behind them i thought the justice system was for everyone no matter what your name is so my son is away from his 2 kids and his family for at least 2 and a half years the board of parole says this is a serious crime so if thats the case i think everyone deserves the same punishment not a pick and choose game my son has been in 1 year and got denied parole because the seriouness of the charge can u say first offense and NO ONE DIED if it had been a semi around the corner i would have buried my son and granddaughter so yes he should have got something for this to wake him up but 5 years WHY NOT A SLAP ON THE HAND FOR HIM guess no acholol test was given and its to late now but to continually get picked up for all this and nothing happen MAKES U QUESTION OUR WONDERFUL JUSTICE SYSTEM so take office in january and i will be on your doorstep to see what can be done for my son after serving time in prison he made a mistake that nite its not like he got up that morning and said god i want to hit someone tonite and hurt them how many people can say they never have got behind the wheel of a vehicle drinking just one which puts u over the leal limit i cant he has 2 kids who need him and try to explain the justice system to them when i dont understand it my son needed a wake up call but 5 years in prison guess the system needed to set an example or needed the money hes a good kid made a horrible mistake but everyone survived that is the main thing so justice bah humbug i have no faith in our system

  20. BJ

    I know this should be about Branstad, but to rbudzz: I am guessing you supported Vander Plaat and his demands to oust the Iowa Supreme Court Judges. If that be the case, I would like to thank you and the other uninformed hill-billies of Iowa and let you know, the “activist judges of Iowa” were some of the first to: Integrate Schools, Allow Women lawyers to the state bar, ruled in favor of a black woman who was kicked from the dining room of a steam boat due to her color (91 years before the US Supreme court did the same), Protect newspaper rights to publish negative reviews AND the Anti-miscegenation laws against marriage of blacks and white repealed in 1851… our Constitution and Bill of Rights start out: “All men and women are, by nature, free and equal…”

    By Law, the Iowa Supreme Court had to rule that banning same sex marriage was unconstitutional and must uphold that ruling UNTIL the constitution is changed.

    Bcome an informed and educated citizen of this country or sit in the background and keep silent.

  21. Dad

    How stupid the people of Iowa are, or they have no memorie at all. Most folks in this state who face the same situation spend time prison, alcohol is not required. This is merely another diverison to get people away form the main point…….Terry Brainstand abused his power to keep his irresponsible prodigy from being punished as any other citizen of the state would be. Would you expect more after reading his record? And now we either have to impeach the liar, or live with his decit for another 4 years. As for the republican loyal, it less than a month into his “new reign” and he is already breaking campaign promises…………..I guess rose colored glasses last forever.

  22. Nicole E

    I agree that there wasn’t any actual proof of alcohol involved – just a ton of inexperience. As far as the future arrests of drug and alcohol abuse: maybe that was the only way he could “self medicate” away the pain and self-loathing of knowing that his stupid actions claimed the lives of two people. That would be a huge burden for anyone to bear.

  23. Randy

    No Alcohol or Drug tests were given,, Which I believe are required in any accident resulting in death, if it isn’t it should be.

  24. truth

    my friends (years ago ) mother new a nurse at the time the son was in the hospital says the kid was wacked out of his mind with booze . another a cop from the scene told some one who told a hundred other people who told me 16 beer cans were strewn about . lastly the son of the dead couple told me personally he has a tape from back then vhs with a deputy admitting on the tape that the kid was had been drinking but would not be charged because then he would have to face manslaughter charges the son of the deceased also said he was threatened by law enforcement back then for making waves yes people we live in a duel world the rich as Jesus said oppress you wake up as for the 200000 well the son claims he never got one dime to scared to sue of coarse this is all old news now and look who rules over us it took a small army of people to cover this up many out of fear again the world we live in

  25. Kaiser Sose

    You are so far off on the Eric Branstad story it not even response worthy, other then to set the record straight. Truth – Passed a car and was involved in a fatal head on crash. Truth – Couple in other car passed away. FICTION – Eric Branstad was under any influence when the accident occured blood tests at Methodist medical center proved this. Fiction – Lightly investigated.

    Eric Branstad was 16 years old and had a license for about 2 months when this accident occured. Per Iowa Courts Record search – Eric Branstad has ONE OWI but nearly 10 years after the event.

    This is one of the worst written and poorly researched crappy blog entries I have ever read. Sounds like a lot of Big labor dems are very scared of a Branstadcomeback and the very thought of it makes them lash out in slanderous unsubstanciated attacks on Branstad’s family. (A tactic proven not to work)

  26. Eric

    If the people of the great state of Iowa knew the whole truth about the cover up involving Eric Branstad and some of the other things Terry has been involved in they would puke.

  27. TERI SUE

    I bet an idiot and a Republican, they kind of go hand in hand. I think Branstad was only re-elected because Culver was governor at the wrong time, the smokers rose up against the poor guy!

  28. Fred Lembke

    It is too bad the people of the State of Iowa let this incident that amounted to murder slide by. I believe there should be further investigation even though it’s been over 20 years. If your son or daughter did this, they would have spent a great deal of time in jail and have their life ruined. Eric seems to have Dad creating political work for him. It is a crock of political crap.

  29. KayCee

    Um… no, it’s not!! People wonder why politics are out of control and certainly out of our hands.. and it is because we allow shit like this to go as though we never even noticed it! NO WONDER this country is in shambles!!

  30. Tricia MIlls-Roberts

    As one of Jean and Charles McCullough’s granddaughters there were several test on Eric Branstand and when Eric woke up he was told to act like he didn’t know what had happened and for your information there was several test done that provided the correct information on what he had in his system, but every time my family would try to have things investigated even farther they would get bought off or was unable to work for us. ANy other questions. The kid killed 2 people and got away with a $15 dollar illegal passing fine. But 2 weeks later 18 year old kid kills 4 people and gets 4 counts of vehicular manslaughter.He didn’t stop there he was in trouble several times and got away with many things. I hope I meet him, one day face to face. He is a disgrace, he is not a man. I cant beleive some people.

  31. Karen

    What the blogger wrote is pretty much what my son–who personnaly
    knew Eric–told me. Eric would show up drunk at underage parties–where alcohol was NOT being consumed–and then be ignored after which he would leave.

  32. Eric Branstad

    If anyone would like to talk openly and honestly about what happened, please give me a call 515-720-1433 cell. Thank you

  33. Robert

    Wow, wearing those political rose colored glasses again? This will sum up Branstad’s past record. He has let his son, literally, get away with murder, when your kid or mine, would have been charged with a serious felonioous crime (NOT a misdemeanor) and throw in prison. What does that tell you about Mr. Brantad, and his character? Come on. Get real. How naive can some folks be? Unreal how foolish and ignorant some people are.

  34. TM

    Really, you or your family dont have a honest bone in your body. U killed 2 inacent people and got away with a $15 illegal passing fine and was told to say you didnt remember the accident. Because of you my children never had the chance to have their great grandparents apart of their lives. You robbed my family of so much and yet you go on every day acting like you did nothing wrong your whole family acts like you did nothing wrong. No remorse, nothing and then you continued to do illegal stuff and daddy wiped it all clean for you. Sorry excuse for a man that is what you are.

  35. Practicalnomad

    Tricia: I am “so very sorry” for the unnecessary loss of your Grandparents. I just read this article and it’s unbelievable what this kid “Eric” got away with! Obviously he is incapable of remorse, attempting to buy alcohol with a fake ID just two years after is proof of that. While your Grandfather was in critical condition, Eric was airlifted before him? This seems like medical malpractice to me. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the Father seems just as despicable, using the campaign to register the vehicle Eric drove. Eric is obviously a repeat offender and should be behind bars! It appears he received DUI’s later on and was involved with drugs as well? I would tend to think there’d be numerous illegal activities if Terry Branstad were ever investigated. It’s hard to believe your state would vote in favor of this man. Once again, our deepest sympathy for the loss of your Grandparents, it is so very sad and our hearts go out to you and your family. Based on what I’ve read in this article, Eric committed murder and should be behind bars for life.

  36. m l

    I stumbled across your comments from an article about Branstads sons wreck. I am so sorry that life is not fair, or less than fair. I wish you and your family the best.

  37. stp

    I know for sure that it was a cover up. The Iowa State patrol officers responsible for investigating accident were promoted shortly after. Mercy Hospital was involved in cover up.
    Brastad goes to St. Augustin
    Catholic Church…42nd and Grand…and though his relationship with the then parish preist was able to influence the hospitals test results for alcohol. The hospital recieved a huge donation from the Ruan Family (also go to St.Augustine) soon after to build new wing.My info comes from a family member that was very close to Branstad

  38. Andrew

    Are you kidding? Why would anyone believe you? You’re a murderer! Above the law just because your father is a corrupt scum. Worst Govenor in Iowa history. How do you live with yourself?

  39. lori

    terry branstad is an idiot and a crook who i would not elect as dog catcher.

  40. Rhonda

    I have said for many years bradstad is a tbief. Well I’ve known about this for years. It’s just another fact to prove my words. You ask why I say tbief, because he goes to’s to benefit himself and his pocket. Because of his laws he has stolen from the people of many states that have lived ones even in prison. How low will he stoop??? Lower than one could imagine. Early 90’s he passed a law that all gifts to prisoners have to pay 20% to restitution. It isn’t the givers place to pay that but the prisoners. It is to come out of their personal income not gifts. Now he is at it again with this Medicaid garbage. Those that really need the assistance won’t be able to as a lot of drs are not planning on accepting any of the 4 mco we have to choose from. branstad. is a joke always has been always will. Take off your blinders people. He is not here for you but for himself.

    1. David Gault

      As a huge Trump supporter I took off all of the Trump decals off my car once I heard that Trump appointed Terry Branstad as Ambassador to China. I was never aware that Eric was involved in the Trump campaign in Iowa. Trump stickers all off my car. Double murderer with a $15.00 fine.

  41. Pingback: Opinion: Cruz Vs Branstad-Offending The Corn God | Iowa Free Press

  42. Lee

    Where is Eric now??? Riding his fathers “good” name and earning a living as a lobbyist…America’s Renewable Future is a front for the Ethanol industry and another way to defer taxpayers dollars to private firms. While daddy promotes ethanol publicly in office Eric gains a paycheck and has never worked a day in his life. Terry’s brother Monroe didn’t fall far from the tree…trouble with trespassing, poaching, and knowingly polluting a river that resulted in a fish kill. What a family….

  43. Michelle

    I’m looking for justice too! Justice for those who can afford it. Someone I know is now fighting for his truth, justice and the American way. His was a true accident. She was higher than a kite. They assumed he was drunk. He wasn’t. They sent him away for 25 years. Now that he’s out after 8 years and laws have been changed due to him. His case reversed and remanded. The DA wants to prosecute him again. Tax dollars down the toilet. DA doesn’t think 8 years for his accident is long enough. Now we get to pay for justice again…ho hum!

  44. Michael McDowell

    Well I for one smell foul, this a cover up that Iowa law enforcement is know for in cases that there to blame or political people they favor are. As for the whole situation the article brings to light is true if it was any other persons kid they would of had tested his blood toxicity or made him breath. As for Brain dead Branstead blatant abuse of power it’s not surprising then or now. He recently was pulled over for speeding on highway he was outraged and went so far as to get the police officer fired for doing his job. He repealed the law that grants felonie convictions from regaining there voters rights. In my opinion solely to eliminate the minority vote in Iowa. Branstead is just bad politics all the way around.Never about the people always for the police unions and rich folks wants. That’s why Iowa is a prison state a republican strong hold that won’t let go of the past. Medical Marijuana is just the tip of the mountain, but they fight this because then if people get medical marijuana then it makes it hard to arrest the poor and minorities they don’t want to have a voice in Iowa. Branstead is unreal and the people who voted him back in to office are paying for it. Gave himself a raise no sooner he entered office greedy cock sucker.

  45. day8602

    2016…and Papa Branstad and his murdering clan are still douchebags.

  46. Robert

    As a lever pulling democrat, I had to read this article twice, because after the first read was finished I said to myself, “did I miss a paragraph that pointed to facts to back up these assumptions?”
    Still didn’t find any after the 2nd read.

  47. Unknown

    I presonally know someone who is friends with Eric. He drinks like a fish and does hard drugs. Wouldnt put this past him

  48. Justin

    Doesn’t matter if he was drunk or not if people in similar cases weren’t drunk either but got vehicular murder/ manslaughter charges. he only got a15 dollar fine? Our government from police on up are as corrupt as it gets. They’ll protect each other when their job is supposed to protect us but it’s opposite that nowadays. It’s so fucked.

    1. David Gault

      Justin imagine this case: Your son is falsely accused of stealing a candybar and I ended pushing the store employee away. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life and a piece of garbage named John Sarcone, Polk County Attorney, charged me with Statute 711.2 Robbery in the First Degree punishable by a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years. I entered into an Alford Plea and was granted PROBATION. I was 1000% innocent & parasite Terry Branstad denied my pardon. I know all about this Eric Branstad case and his $15.00 fine. The Dallas County Attorney should be in jail along side Eric and his parasite dad/Terry.

  49. Sandra Scott

    I would like to know, as a woman born and raised in Iowa, who though being a life long Democrat, was always proud of the work our Republican Governors did for the state and until Terry Brandtstats’ first rein including what he let his son get away with, on top of the ruination of the early childhood education system, in favor of building a prison system with the Medicaid funding from the federal government. Taxation gifts to large corporations to come to the state to hire “welfare” parents at minimum wage, that would pay qualified graduates 20% more at hire. The companies were required to stay in state a minimum of five years, but they could then get federal funding for relocation putting “welfare” parents back at ground zero, then he finally retired, and I was jumping for joy!
    I truly didn’t believe Iowa could give an 8 year retired lousy governor a second go at ruining a once proud state and the biggest insult, he’s getting full retirement pay for the first term and full pay with benefits for the second term an will get a second retirement package when he finishes this term. Has anyone considered a mental check up for all voters in the state? Now you are discussing electing him again? Wake up Iowa!
    We won’t even go into Charles Grassley and his manipulation of the congressional Department regulating farming, and food stamps.
    Wake up Iowa, wake up voters every where. HILARY AND THE DONALD! Come on people.

  50. fly on the wall

    Eric is now head of the Trump Campaign in Iowa…and papa Terry is echoing Trump, saying the election is rigged. What a joke…at least Eric found a place where his crappy behavior won’t be noticed much.

  51. Keith

    I don’t live in Iowa but it matters not. If someone commits a crime they need to be punished period, no matter who they are or their position in life.

  52. Randall

    Wow! What a bunch of freakin looney toons! And I’m guessing most are wearing tin foil hats and have been touched by aliens. Biggest crock of “conspiracy” bullshit I’ve heard in a long time. I get that ya’ll hate Governor Branstad. Hey that’s cool, he’s a politician, it comes with the territory. But what’s so sad is how far you let your judgement and reality be clouded by your deep rooted hatred for our Governor.

    There is no evidence, whatsoever, that young Eric was drunk at the time of the crash. Just conspiracy theories. Of course there is no cover-up, just a wild story by the original author, who obviously has an ax to grind.

    It is sad when ANYONE loses their life in an accident of any kind. But to compound that loss, by dreaming up these wild, and unproven conspiracy theories, is reckless.

    But when people hate someone so much due to their politics, and their success, it is easy to take advantage of their hatred, gullibility and naivete to make them believe almost anything. Hate is strong and powerful, and this is just another example of how it eats away at people’s logic and reasonableness leaving them open to wild and unreasonable conspiracies.

    But…carry on amongst your tinfoil hatted selves.

  53. Harden Colfax

    I wouldn”t piss on the whole Branstad clan if they were on fire.

  54. dale white

    i made a bad choice, i sold a bag of weed. tb stripped me of voting rights. Culver gave them back after many years then terry took them away again. yet his boy can manage a campaign? for the president?!?! i cant even give my 2 cents for mayor of my hometown(forest city!) something is wrong here

  55. Christine Martin

    This to all parents mainly who enable their children.i have been o both sides. First of all this is part of Terry Brandstad’s past. I have followed from the beginning I remember that night a young boy came into the bar where I was and told a group of people what had happened. He stated he had been with Eric that afternoon and he was intoxicated. I said you should tell authorities. We can’t it would only be hear say. Each time something new came about I hoped this young man would come forward. It never happened. I was in my addict addiction back then. I still knew right from wrong. Today I am in recovery due to the help of a fellowship which. must remain nameless. I can see where I was enabled by a parent on the hometown police force. Every time I was arrested, for anything I got a slap on the hand basically. Then both my parents were deceased, I was still in my addict addiction sitting on my bed in complete desperation. I had to find a life of something different. So I left my house and everything to come to a town that had recovery. I got a new life? Some peace and serenity. I used drugs for many years and alcohol is a drug too. I met a man after 3 years in recovery we were together for 4 years he kept relapsing a d finally I did too after 6 1/2 years. That relationship was toxic for me. So I hot out of it. Got right back in my recovery. Next month I will have two years again. Most recently, I have been enabling my adult child by helping with her needs and wants which keeps her in active addiction So I had to make another choice in my life and that was to disassociate myself. To allow her to get the desperation that I got to do something different. She is my baby and I love her so much. This decision caused me pain but with my sponsor program other people. I can do it clean. We do things for the right reasons.

  56. Mickey Dixon

    For all the negative comments about Branstad why did the people of Iowa keep electing him over and over and over. I AM CONFUSED. Bitching about Branstad but kept electing him LOL


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