Pierre, SD – Investigators said the attorney general of South Dakota charged with misdemeanor driving violations in connection with a hit-and-run that left a man dead couldn’t have thought that he hit a deer because his victim’s glasses ended up on his front seat.
The tragic incident occurred on Sept. 12, 2020 while 55-year-old Joseph Boever was walking down the side of U.S. Highway 14 carrying a light, according to the crash report.
He had crashed his truck into a ditch on the side of that road earlier in the evening and gotten a ride home from his cousin, NBC News reported.
Later that night, Boever was walking back to his truck to get something when he was fatally struck.
Ravnsborg contacted the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office and told them he thought he had hit a deer, according to NBC News.
He said that he and the sheriff walked around and looked on the side of the road together but did not find anything, The Washington Post reported.
The attorney general returned to the crash scene with his chief of staff in the morning and they found Boever’s dead body on the side of the road.
The crash report said that Ravnsborg was “distracted” when his car went onto the shoulder of the highway and hit the pedestrian at 67 mph, NBC News reported.
He was charged with operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile device, driving outside a lane, and careless driving on Feb. 19 in connection with the crash.
Ravnsborg faces a maximum of 90 days in jail and $1,500 in damages, The Washington Post reported.
But then on Tuesday, the state released videos of two three-hour-long interviews that detectives conducted with Ravnsborg after Boever’s body was found.
The video showed that detectives had told the attorney general that Boever’s reading glasses had been found inside his 2011 Ford Taurus, The Washington Post reported.
“They’re Joe’s glasses, so that means his face came through your windshield,” a detective told Ravnsborg in the video.
The attorney general continued to deny that he had any idea he’d struck a person.
“His face was in your windshield, Jason,” the detective said. “Think about that.”
Ravnsborg said in the video he hadn’t seen the broken glasses in the car or on Boever, The Washington Post reported.
He claimed he hadn’t seen “anything” that night, but detectives argued that Boever had been carrying a big flashlight.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, called for the attorney general’s resignation on Tuesday after the details of the interviews with the detectives became public, the Argus Leader reported.
Later in the day, South Dakota House GOP members convened a closed door meeting.
Afterwards, they announced that two articles of impeachment had been filed against Ravnsborg by his own party, the Argus Leader reported.
They were scheduled to be introduced on the House floor on Wednesday.
“This is not political, and it is not personal,” South Dakota State Representative Will Mortenson, who authored the articles, told the Argus Leader.
“Again, I do not believe Attorney General Ravnsborg belongs in prison, but I know he does not belong in the Office of the Attorney General anymore,” Mortenson said.
The impeachment resolution had bipartisan co-sponsorship, the Argus Leader reported.
“This isn’t about party or politics,” Republican South Dakota House Majority Leader Kent Peterson said in a statement. “It’s about doing the right thing for South Dakota. We must hold our elected leaders to a high standard. In this case, the attorney general has failed to meet that standard, and we owe it to the people to bring these Articles.”
Ravnsborg has said he has no plans to step down from the top law enforcement position in the state of South Dakota, The Washington Post reported.
“At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office,” Mike Deaver, a private spokesman for the attorney general, told the Argus Leader in a statement.