Jason Ravnsborg charged with deadly crash misdemeanor in South Dakota: NPR

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he initially believed he struck a deer the night of the crash. It wasn’t until the next day, when he was driving back to the scene of the incident, that he discovered the body of 55-year-old Joe Boever, whom he had fatally struck. Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images Hide caption

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South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he initially believed he struck a deer the night of the crash. It wasn’t until the next day, when he was driving back to the scene of the incident, that he discovered the body of 55-year-old Joe Boever, whom he had fatally struck.

Bloomberg / Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Dakota attorney general Jason Ravnsborg was charged Thursday on three 2nd class offenses for his role in a car accident that killed a man who ran along the side of the road in September.

Hyde County’s assistant district attorney Emily Sovell announced the charges during a news conference, noting that, given the evidence available, they were the most serious she could bring against the state’s top law enforcement officer.

Ravnsborg was accused of operating a vehicle with a mobile electronic device, illegally changing lanes and carelessly driving. Each of them has a maximum sentence of 30 days in prison and a fine of $ 500 each.

Beadle County Prosecutor Michael Moore, who was part of a team of prosecutors who worked on the case, stated that Ravnsborg could not be charged with vehicle murder as the driver of the vehicle must be drunk on such charges.

“Recklessness is an extremely heavy burden on us and in this case we don’t have it,” said Moore. “I don’t feel good about it, but it’s the right decision.”

Ravnsborg was driving home alone after participating in a GOP fundraiser in a bar on Sept. 12 when he fatally struck 55-year-old Joe Boever on Highway 14 at around 9:20 p.m.

Initially, the attorney general said he believed he had hit a deer or other large animal. He said so on a 911 call after the crash, and when law enforcement arrived, they couldn’t find the object he hit.

“I did not see what I hit and immediately stopped my vehicle to investigate,” Ravnsborg said in a two-page letter to the Argus guide.

But when Ravnsborg returned to the scene of the accident the next day, he discovered Boever’s body and found that he had indeed killed the man. Then he drove to the sheriff’s house to tell him about his discovery, the newspaper reported.

“Officials said a toxicology report made about 15 hours after the crash showed no alcohol in Ravnsborg’s system,” reported the Associated Press.

However, these results do not necessarily prove that the attorney general had not been drinking or was not above the legal limit at the time of the fatal crash. “Even someone who drank a lot would have no alcohol in their system 15 hours later,” an expert told the intelligence service.

On Thursday, Sovell and Moore said cell phone evidence shows “Ravnsborg and the sheriff walked past the body the night Boever was met and confirmed the attorney general’s report of his actions that night, which he said said the AP that he searched the trench in the hope of finding out what had crashed into his vehicle.

The investigation also found that Ravnsborg was driving 100 km / h above the speed limit at the time of the impact.

Boever walked the dark street Saturday night because he was going to his own vehicle that had been left in a ditch earlier that day.

Governor Kristi Noem did not take note of the details of Sovell’s decision to file charges with offenses. Instead, Noem said, “My heart goes out to Joseph Boever’s family.” She also said that she is “instructing the Ministry of Public Security to provide the public with further details of the investigation within the next week.”

My heart goes out to Joseph Boever’s family. I will not comment on the details of Mrs Sovell’s decision. I am instructing the Ministry of Public Security to provide the public with further details of the investigation within the next week.

– Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem), February 18, 2021

Boever’s cousin Nick Nemec, who was called in to identify the body, told Keloland News he was disappointed but not surprised by Thursday’s decision, noting that South Dakota law was “weak” on this point.

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