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World South Dakota Attorney General Charged in Fatal Car Crash

23:25  18 february  2021
23:25  18 february  2021 Source:   thedailybeast.com

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South Dakota ’s attorney general , Jason R. Ravnsborg, was driving home alone from a Republican Party dinner on Saturday night when his car hit something, possibly a deer, he told the authorities. By the next day, the news had taken a grim turn: A man had been found dead near the highway. “Highway Patrol routinely investigates fatality crashes across our state, and we will handle this as we would any other fatal crash ,” he said. The department said in a statement on Monday that Mr. Ravnsborg, who lives in Pierre, told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had “been involved in a

South Dakota 's attorney general struck and killed a man while driving on Saturday night, a death that was discovered after he initially told police he had hit a deer, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said Monday.

SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota—South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg will, in fact, be criminally prosecuted for killing a man with his car last fall.

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On Thursday, a Hyde County prosecutor broke more than five months of silence after the Sept. 12 death of Joe Boever, a Highmore man who was walking along U.S. Highway 14 when Ravnsborg fatally struck him.

Ravnsborg is charged with using a mobile electronic device, failing to drive in lane of traffic and moving from a lane unsafely, and careless driving—all misdemeanors.

Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell spoke at a press conference in Pierre, the state capital, located 48 miles west of Highmore, the Hyde County seat. This was the first time Sovell has publicly discussed the case, as she previously refused to speak with reporters.

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Kristi Noem (R) announced that state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) was involved in a fatal car accident on Saturday night.The crash took place west of Highmore, in central South Dakota , and Noem said law enforcement is "working on identifying the deceased and notifying the family." The accident occurred as Ravnsborg was driving home from a dinner hosted by the state GOP.Following Noem's press conference, Ravnsborg's office released a statement saying he is "shocked and filled with sorrow following the events of last night.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is facing backlash after he reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night, when he actually hit and killed a pedestrian whose body was found the next day, according to state investigators. According to Ravnsborg, while on a stretch of U.S At this time I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.” Ravnsborg spokesman Tim Bormann stated that the attorney general was driving home to Pierre from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield when the incident took place. Investigators looking into the case said that it took them nearly an entire

The bizarre circumstances of the crash have sparked debate across South Dakota. And the lengthy, eerily quiet investigation invited national curiosity, raising hard questions about accountability in a tight-knit, GOP-dominated state.

Boever’s cousin Nick Nemec, a former Democratic legislator who farms near Highmore, said their family was devastated. A few weeks before Boever was killed, his father died following a long illness, forcing the family to gather for a pair of funerals in a short period, Nemec told The Daily Beast.

To them, Boever's death was senseless and difficult to accept.

“The siblings want justice,” Nemec told The Daily Beast. “They lost a brother. Joe was the middle child in a seven-kid family and as such, when growing up, had closer relationships with all his siblings than the kids on either end would have had with the kids on the opposite end.”

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South Dakota 's attorney general Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man while driving after he initially told police he had hit a deer, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said. Ravnsborg says he did stop to investigate after the incident, but did not see anything until he returned the next day.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg last month killed a pedestrian while driving. A preliminary autopsy report said the man, 55-year-old Joseph Boever, had extensive injuries "both internally and externally," South Dakota Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price said in a news conference Boever's body was discovered the following morning, the department had said. A final autopsy report could take several weeks to complete, Price said on Tuesday. The investigation into the fatal crash is taking longer than others, Price said, because North Dakota investigators are involved, and their

“The cousins are all mad as hell,” he added. “They lost a cousin that they had played with growing up.”

Ravnsborg was returning to Pierre on Sept. 12 from a Republican Party event at a bar and restaurant in Redfield, the Spink County seat located 72 miles away, when he hit and killed Boever, 55, who lived in Highmore and worked at a grocery store. Boever was a quiet man who had been through some difficult times before returning to the area where he grew up, according to Nemec, who has served as a family spokesman.

“He bought a house, got married. In short, he was putting down roots. He liked to garden and he was good at it,” Nemec said.

Boever had run his pickup off Highway 14 earlier that day, striking a large round hay bale and disabling the vehicle. He called his cousin and close friend Victor Nemec, Nick Nemec’s brother, and asked for help.

Victor Nemec picked up Boever and, after they determined they would need a log chain to pull the pickup’s fender from the front passenger-side tire, took him to Boever’s home in Highmore. They made plans to return to the vehicle Sunday morning and try to get it back on the road.

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South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal crash on Saturday night that was originally reported to law enforcement as a collision with a deer. The driver, 44-year-old Jason Ravnsborg of Pierre, told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had been involved in a car -deer crash . The driver was not injured," the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said in a news release on Monday. "The pedestrian’s body was discovered Sunday morning."

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night but actually killed a pedestrian whose body was not found until the next day, state investigators said Monday. Ravnsborg's office has said he immediately called 911 after the accident on a rural stretch of He had crashed his truck in that area earlier, according to relatives, and was apparently walking near the road toward it. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem had revealed Sunday that Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal crash and said the Department of Public Safety was investigating, but neither she

Instead, for some reason, Boever, who was wearing dark clothing and carrying a light, walked to his pickup that night. He was returning to Highmore on the north side of the road, close to the westbound lane, when a witness spotted him shortly before the crash.

Ravnsbor was driving his own car, a red 2011 Ford Taurus, on the north shoulder of the road around 10:30 p.m. when he struck Boever, and pulled his heavily damaged vehicle over to the side. The attorney general called 911 to report the crash and said he was unsure what he had struck.

He also told a different story about where his car was at the time of the crash.

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“This ... well ... Ally, I’m the attorney general. And I am ... I don’t know ... I hit something.”

Dispatcher: “You hit something?”

Caller: “By Highmore. Highmore. And it was in the middle of the road.”

Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who lives on a nearby acreage, responded to the call. It’s unknown if Boever was already dead, although Nemec believes he was.

Ravnsborg said he used the flashlight app on his cell phone to look for what he had struck; the dispatcher suggested it might have been a deer. Such collisions are not uncommon in the prairie state.

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While the attorney general’s car was less than 100 feet from the body, and lights from four businesses glowed all night, neither Ravnsborg nor Volek spotted the body. Volek, who also has refused to speak to the media, did not administer a test for alcohol use on the attorney general, whom he had met previously.

Instead, the sheriff provided Ravnsborg with his own private vehicle and the attorney general left the scene and drove on to Pierre. A tow truck was called to remove the damaged car; once again, Boever’s body was undiscovered.

The next morning, Ravnsborg returned to Highmore, driving in tandem with Tim Bormann, his chief of staff, to return Sheriff Volek’s car. The attorney general drove by the crash scene and, amazingly enough, he was the one to discover the body. He then drove to Volek's home to notify the sheriff.

The crash scene was investigated by the South Dakota Highway Patrol, which is under the control of the Department of Public Safety, not the attorney general. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation was brought into assist, since the equivalent agency in South Dakota does report to Ravnsborg.

A private crash reconstruction team from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, also joined the investigation, and Ravnsborg's cell phone was sent to New Jersey to be inspected to see if he was using it at the time of the crash.

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Ravnsborg provided a blood-alcohol sample 15 hours after the fatality. He said he had not consumed any alcohol on Sept. 12.

South Dakota Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price said the investigation indicated Ravnsborg was distracted and that is why he did not see Boever when he struck him. Price also said the investigation determined Ravnsborg, who told the dispatcher the object he struck was in the “middle of the road,” was actually driving on the shoulder of the two-lane highway when he struck Boever.

Nemec, who has inspected the crash scene several times, believes his cousin was dragged underneath the attorney general’s car, which was badly damaged on the front passenger side, with the windshield shattered.

He said there’s a great deal that still doesn’t make sense to him.

“In the months immediately after the crash, I had many sleepless nights thinking about the events of Sept. 12. I would get up at night and drive US-14 trying to imagine that night, taking special note of the light and visibility conditions,” Nemec said. “I suppose I coped with it by doing my own investigation. While the blood was still on the highway, I measured every aspect of the crash I could think of—blood, tire marks. I was trying to wrap my mind around what happened.

“Sadly, what happened could have been avoided. Had Ravnsborg not swerved on to the shoulder, they would have passed without a thought,” he said. “Had Joe walked slower or faster, he wouldn't have been in that spot when Ravnsborg swerved onto the shoulder.

“On this Ash Wednesday it is a reminder to me that life is fleeting,” he added this week.

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Ravnsborg has insisted he broke no laws, but otherwise has declined to discuss the investigation.

“I believe I have not committed any crime,” he told reporters in December. “I believe that we will, when we have all the facts, not a selected amount of facts, we’ll know the full story and we’ll make a full statement.”

Sovell took her time despite the increased demand for charges or an explanation of what happened that night on a quiet road in central South Dakota. She and Ravnsborg were law school classmates, both graduating from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 2001.

Sovell, who is the state’s attorney in nearby Sully County, is also the deputy state’s attorney in Hyde County. She is assisting her father, Hyde County State’s Attorney Merlin Voorhees, who effectively recused himself from the investigation. No reason was provided for that decision.

Sovell has been advised by Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo and Crystal Johnson, who was the County state's attorney last year. In January, Moore suggested Sovell could consider several options in this case.

“When dealing with an automobile accident that results in a death of another person, the law provides four different actions of an operator of the motor vehicle,” he said. “Negligent, careless, reckless, and intentional. Vehicle homicide and vehicle battery require the operator to be under the influence and also operating the vehicle in a negligent manner.

“In order for the operator to be criminally responsible for the death (if they are not under the influence) their actions must be reckless or intentional,” Moore said. “The South Dakota Legislature… rejected a negligent homicide law, thus leaving reckless or intentional actions as the only means of an operator to have criminal liability.”

Ravnsborg has a checkered driving record, with six speeding tickets and two other driving violations in South Dakota between 2014-18 and two speeding tickets in Iowa.

If he chooses to seek a second term as attorney general, Ravnsborg would be on the ballot in 2022—along with GOP Gov. Kristio Noem, who has announced her plans to seek re-election. She is also viewed as a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024.

Joe Boever had much more modest ambitions. He was content with a quiet life in a small town, according to Nick Nemec.

Boever's ashes were interred next to his father’s ashes in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Dell Rapids, a small town in southeast South Dakota about 200 miles from Highmore.

“He had a bad day, the worst day of his life and paid for it with his life,” Nemec said. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!