South Dakota’s Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) hit and killed a pedestrian while driving late this past Saturday evening, as a new report in The Washington Post explains. Ravnsborg stopped at the scene and called local police, claiming that he thought he had struck a deer. Both Ravnsborg and Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who responded to the call, examined the scene of the crash at the time of the collision. However, it was not until the next morning, when Ravnsborg was back at the crash site, that the state official discovered the body of the man who he had hit and killed.
The victim was 55-year-old Joseph Boever, who had accidentally run his own truck off the side of the road in the time before the fatal wreck. Boever’s cousin, Victor Nemec, picked Boever up, and the two of them apparently planned to head back to retrieve Boever’s vehicle, which had been left behind, the following morning. Boever seems to have decided to venture back to the vehicle on Saturday evening instead. In the aftermath of the wreck, responding to Ravnsborg’s defense, Nemec noted that a “deer doesn’t look like a human.”
Nemec insisted to a local media outlet:
‘I believe the state is going to try to cover this up as much as they can. This state is known for covering up wrongdoing of elected officials all the time.’
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg thought he had hit a deer in a car crash Saturday night.
But by the next morning, it turned out he'd hit a man.https://t.co/1v0RlUrWEq
— POLITICO (@politico) September 14, 2020
The collision in which Boever died was severe enough to damage Ravnsborg’s vehicle to the point that he was unable to drive it the rest of the way home, so Volek drove the state official to his own house and let him use his personal car. Somehow, Ravnsborg claims, “At no time did either of us suspect that I had been involved in an accident with a person.” Ravnsborg discovered Boever’s body after stopping with the sheriff’s personal car at a gas station the following morning, and he says he “immediately drove to Volek’s home and reported the body,” as the Post explains.
Jason Ravnsborg the South Dakota AG needs to resign NOW. Each of these moves would result in anyone else being placed under arrest. Truly disgusting turn of events.https://t.co/qe3YlvMVp4
— Ethan Embry (@EmbryEthan) September 15, 2020
Ravnsborg, who had been at a Republican Party fundraiser before he was driving home on Saturday night, stated the following:
‘I’ve been cooperating fully with the investigation and have agreed to a search of both of my cell phones, provided a blood draw, and have given the investigators the names of anyone at the dinner who can confirm that I was not drinking alcohol at any time during the event.’
Ravnsborg says that he was not drinking on the night of the fatal collision, but he apparently does have a documented history of traffic law violations, including speeding.
South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg had six speeding infractions between 2014 and 2018. https://t.co/jjqe77P8w6
— ArgusLeader911 (@Argus911) September 14, 2020
According to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), the South Dakota Highway Patrol is working on the investigation of the incident, and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also assisting on the case.
Ravnsborg said he didn't call 911 after he found the dead body. He drove to the sheriff's house to personally tell him.
The top law enforcement official in SD left a dead man by the side of the road (he had been there since the night before) instead of calling 911.
— Arielle Zionts (@Ajzionts) September 15, 2020
It’s unclear what Ravnsborg’s future might entail — there’s not yet any apparent word of a possible resignation. Being the perpetrator in a manslaughter incident could complicate his job as the state’s top law enforcement officer, to put it lightly. He was first elected in 2018.
South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg released a two-page statement Monday night that detailed the moments before and after the fatal crash and said he discovered Joe Boever's body the next day: https://t.co/mygspBeghX
— ArgusLeader911 (@Argus911) September 15, 2020