South Dakota AG Under Pressure to Resign As Details About Fatal Hit-and-Run Emerge
“They’re Joe’s glasses, so that means his face came through your windshield. His face was in your windshield, Jason. Think about that.” That chilling statement by a detective with the South Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation belies the claim of the state’s Republican attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg, that he thought that he had hit a deer on the night of Sept. 12 last year.
Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement official, returned to the scene the following day and found the body of a man, 55-year-old Joseph Boever, in a ditch alongside the road. It’s not known why Ravnsborg felt the need to revisit the scene of what he thought was a deer strike. He told investigators he was driving home on state highway 14 from a GOP fundraiser in Redfield, S.D., at about 10:30 p.m. when he said his Ford Taurus hit a “large figure” in the dark. Ravnsborg said he used his cellphone’s flashlight app to search the ditch alongside the road but did not see anything other than “pieces of my vehicle laying on and around the roadway.”
The next morning, Ravnsborg, who has said he was not drinking the night of the accident, and his chief of staff drove back to the scene. “As I walked along the shoulder of the road, I discovered the body of Mr. Boever in the grass just off the roadway,” Ravnsborg said. “It was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased.” He then drove to the sheriff’s home and reported the body.
Last week, when prosecutors charged Ravnsborg with three misdemeanors in connection with the incident, Gov. Kristi Noem had no comment. But Tuesday, after the state released video of two three-hour interviews detectives conducted with the attorney general on Sept. 14 and Sept. 30, she called for his resignation.
Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign. I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) February 23, 2021
Also on Tuesday a bipartisan group of state legislators filed two articles of impeachment against Ravsnborg, adding to pressure for him to resign.
“This is not political, and it is not personal,” said Rep. Will Mortenson said. “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.”