South Dakota Attorney General Involved in Fatal Crash
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is facing backlash after he reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night, when he actually hit and killed a pedestrian whose body was found the next day, according to state investigators.
According to Ravnsborg, while on a stretch of U.S. Highway 14 in his 2011 Ford Taurus, he called 911 immediately after the incident occurred and did not know that he had hit a man until the body was found.
In a statement provided Monday from the Department of Public Safety, it was made clear that Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had hit a deer, but it remained unclear whether he called 911 to report the accident.
The deceased man who was struck by Ravnsborg’s car, 55-year-old Joseph Boever, was found on Sunday, a day after the collision occurred.
While the Department of Public Safety says its investigation into the incident is ongoing, Ravnsborg released a statement late Sunday evening.
“I am shocked and filled with sorrow following the events of last night,” Ravnsborg said in the statement. “As Governor Noem stated, I am fully cooperating with the investigation and I fully intend to continue do so moving forward. At this time I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.”
Ravnsborg spokesman Tim Bormann stated that the attorney general was driving home to Pierre from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield when the incident took place.
Investigators looking into the case said that it took them nearly an entire day, with the help of family members, to identify Boever’s body.
According to Boever’s cousin, Nick Nemec, Boever had crashed into a hay bale near the highway earlier that day. Nemec also said he is concerned that a 911 call was placed because no sirens were heard leaving Highmore on Saturday night.
“My worst fear is that they’re trying to get ducks in a row to absolve the attorney general of any wrongdoing,” Nick Nemec said.
According to the Argus Leader, South Dakota’s largest newspaper, Ravnsborg “has a history of speeding and other traffic violations.”