Authorities in South Dakota said Monday the state’s Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R), 44, was “distracted” when he struck and killed a pedestrian in Hyde County earlier this year. Ravnsborg was driving on U.S. Highway 14 on Sept. 12 when he struck 55-year-old Joseph Boever, killing him. What that distraction precisely was or entailed was not revealed.
The attorney general initially told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he thought had hit a deer. The next morning, however, Boever’s body was found the next day, when Ravnsborg returned to the scene in a vehicle he borrowed to get home that night—a personal vehicle owned by the Hyde County Sheriff.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) held a joint press conference with the state’s Public Safety Secretary Craig Price Monday to provide an update on the probe. The duo explained to reporters that the Highway Patrol’s investigation was being aided by investigators from North Dakota and Wyoming, and is largely complete, the Argus Leader reported. Several key facts remain publicly unknown, including the nature of the “distraction” that led to Ravnsborg hitting Boever, the precise time of the crash, how long after the crash he waited before calling 911, as well as information regarding Boever’s autopsy and toxicology report, which are still pending.
“Although there are a few remaining things that still need to be done, much of the investigation is complete,” Noem told reporters.
Gov. Noem refused to say if she’s requested Ravnsborg’s resignation or if she believed he should step down in the wake of investigators confirming that Boever’s death was the result of the attorney general being “distracted.”
“I’m going to refrain from expressing my personal opinions until the investigation is totally complete and the state’s attorney makes a decision on what charges if any will be filed,” she said.
According to the accident report released Monday by the South Dakota Highway Patrol, drug and alcohol field tests were administered when authorities arrived on the scene but both results were listed as “unobtainable at time report filed.” A toxicology test taken the day after the crash at 1:30 p.m. came back negative.
“[Ravnsborg] was traveling westbound on US HWY 14. [Ravnsborg] was distracted. [Ravnsborg] entered the north shoulder while traveling westbound. [Boever] was walking on the north shoulder. [Boever] was struck by [Ravnsborg]. [Boever] was carrying a light. The exact time of crash is still under investigation,” the report stated. “The specific distraction is still under investigation.”
The Argus Leader did identify a key discrepancy in Ravnsborg’s story.
When Ravnsborg called 911, he said that the “deer” he hit was “in the middle of the road.” The crash report said Boever was walking on the shoulder.
As reported by Law&Crime, Tim Bormann, spokesman for the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, previously said the attorney general, who had not been hurt in the crash, had been driving back home by himself from the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner—a GOP fundraiser—in Redfield. Bormann said Ravnsborg had not been drinking.
Boever’s cousin, Victor Nemec, told the Argus Leader that after seeing the crash site for himself it was clear that Ravnsborg wasn’t watching the road at the time of the crash.
“My brother and I have been out there many times and took lots of measurements,” he said. “When you could still see the blood smears and the skid marks, it was very obvious that the car was out of the driving lane and onto the shoulder.”
Read the full accident report here.
[image via Fox News screengrab]
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