‘It’s fishy’ – Family of man killed by South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg demand answers – Blast police investigation after it’s revealed cops failed to find body on night of collision
Family of the victim killed by AG over the weekend skeptical justice will be done
Jason Ravnsborg, 44, mowed down 55-year-old veteran Jason Boever, with his car on Saturday night while driving from a Republican fundraiser, but told cops he thought he’d only struck a deer,
He said he immediately called 911 and reported that he thought he’d hit a deer, and later searched the area by flashlight along with Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, but they didn’t find anything
The next morning Boever’s body was found near the crash site, by Ravnsborg and his chief of staff
Boever’s cousins, Nick and Victor Nemec, have said they are worried that authorities won’t conduct a full investigation
The Nemecs criticized authorities for being tight-lipped about their progress and for taking so long to identify Boever’s body, despite his being reported missing 10 hours earlier
‘It seems like they’re looking for an excuse to make it less than it was,’ Nick Nemec said
Nemec had also reported seeing his cousin’s damaged pickup truck in the middle of a field near the crash site
Boever had crashed into a hay bale hours before he was struck and killed by Ravnsborg
So far, the Highway Patrol has not revealed whether speed or alcohol were factors in the crash, when Ravnsborg reported the crash or if charges are pending against him
Elected attorney general in 2018, Ravnsborg has received six traffic tickets for speeding in South Dakota over the last six years
He’s also received tickets for a seat belt violation and for driving a vehicle without a proper exhaust and muffler system
He has agreed to a search of both of his cell phones, provided blood samples and submitted a list of witnesses who can confirm he was not drinking at the fundraiser before the crash
The handling of a fatal auto accident in which South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg mowed down 55-year-old Jason Boever with his car near Highmore on Saturday night, then called 911 to report that he’d hit a deer, is causing consternation for the victim’s family.
On Monday, Boever’s family criticized authorities for being tight-lipped about their investigation and expressed fear that they may try to protect Ravnsborg.
Boever’s family have expressed fears that authorities could try to protect the politician – as it was revealed a sheriff failed to find his body on the night of the accident.
Ravnsborg, 44, was driving from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield to his home about 110 miles away in Pierre on Saturday night when he hit something in the dark that he said he presumed to be an animal.
In a statement on Monday night Ravnsborg said he immediately called 911 and searched the area by flashlight along with Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who responded to the scene, but they didn’t find anything.
It wasn’t until the next morning that 55-year-old Jason Boever’s body was discovered in a ditch when the Attorney General returned to the crash site with his chief of staff.
Boever’s cousins, Nick and Victor Nemec, have now said they are worried that investigators ‘might not make a complete effort to find out the truth about what happened to him.’
The Nemecs criticized authorities for not being forthcoming about their progress, as well as, for taking so long to identify Boever.
The brothers said they wonder why it took so long for investigators to contact them about identifying their cousin’s body, even though Victor Nemec had contacted the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office about 10 hours earlier with his concerns that Boever was missing and may have been involved in the Highmore collision.
“It just seems fishy; it just seems like they’re looking for an excuse to make it less than it was.” Nick Nemec, a former Democratic state legislator, told South Dakota News Watch.
While Jason Ravnsborg said he and the Hyde County sheriff both searched the area with flashlights immediately after the crash but neither of them spotted Boever in the ditch until the following day.
However, Victor Nemec had contacted the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday morning to report that Boever was missing and may have been involved in the Highmore collision.
He notified authorities that Boever’s truck was in a ditch near the accident scene after he crashed it into a hay bale on Saturday morning.
“It just seems like they’re looking for an excuse to make it less than it was,” Nick Nemec said.
Despite his report, Victor said authorities still haven’t approached him for an interview.
“I believe they’re more interested in getting their story straight before they actually ask me questions,” Victor told SDNW.
“I told them that I was probably one of the last people to see my cousin alive. I could make any kind of statement that they needed. And they really didn’t acknowledge that.”
“It took them 10 hours from the time my brother essentially solved the unidentified body for them at 10 o’clock in the morning saying, we’re missing our cousin, Joe, and we can’t find him. And that’s his pickup in the ditch,” Nick, a former Democratic state legislator, told the outlet.
The Nemecs aired their concerns shortly before Ravnsborg released his own statement, revealing that he was the one who discovered Boever’s body.
He said that he and the Hyde County sheriff had both searched the area around the vehicle with flashlights immediately after the accident but neither of them spotted Boever lying in a ditch.
Ravnsborg, who was alone in his car, insisted that he had not been drinking before he got behind the wheel and said he is cooperating with an investigation into the crash.
Ravnsborg said he had not spoken out prior to Monday night statement because the investigation is ongoing, but that he decided to make a statement to dispel the ‘many rumors and stories being told and reported which do not represent a full and factual account of what happened’.
He said he started the drive home from the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Rooster’s Bar & Grill in Redfield at about 9.15pm on Saturday and hit ‘something I believed to be a large animal [likely a deer]’ soon after he passed Boever’s hometown of Highmore.
‘I didn’t see what I hit and stopped my vehicle immediately to investigate,’ he wrote, adding that he pulled out the flashlight on his cell phone and all he could see were pieces of his car strewn across the roadway.
After he called 911, Sheriff Volek arrived at the scene to assess the damage to Ravnsborg’s car and search for what he had hit.
‘At no time did either of us suspect that I had been involved in an accident with a person,’ Ravnsborg wrote.
Because Ravnsborg’s car was too damaged to drive and a tow truck would take over an hour to arrive, Volek offered to let the attorney general take his personal car back to Pierre.
The following morning Ravnsborg and his chief of staff made the trip back to Highmore to return Volek’s vehicle.
The pair stopped at the crash site on their way and discovered a man’s body in the grass near the roadway.
‘My chief of staff and I checked and it was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased,’ Ravnsborg wrote.
‘I immediately drove to Sheriff Volek’s home to report the discovery and he accompanied me back to the scene.
‘Once there, the sheriff instructed me that he would handle the investigation, and asked me to return to Pierre.’
The South Dakota Highway Patrol was notified about the fatality Sunday morning and an investigation was opened.
On Sunday night, Governor Kristi Noem and Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price announced that Ravnsborg was involved in the crash at a news conference.
Authorities have not confirmed the details included in Ravnsborg’s statement.
The Highway Patrol is yet to state whether speed or alcohol were factors in the crash, when Ravnsborg reported the crash or if charges are pending against him.
Ravnsborg said that he is ‘cooperating fully with the investigation’ by the Highway Patrol and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, which would normally be involved, is part of the attorney general’s office.
It is standard practice to request an outside agency to conduct an investigation when there may be a conflict of interest.
Ravnsborg has agreed to a search of both of his cell phones, provided blood samples and submitted a list of witnesses who can confirm he was not drinking at the fundraiser before the crash, to investigators.
His Chief of Staff Tim Bormann said the attorney general is known to have an occasional drink, but has made it a practice not to drink at the Lincoln Day events like the one on Saturday night.
State Sen Brock Greenfield, who also attended the dinner, said of Ravnsborg: ‘I didn’t see him with anything but a Coke.’
Ravnsborg, who was elected to the post of attorney general in 2018, has received six traffic tickets for speeding in South Dakota over the last six years.
He also received tickets for a seat belt violation and for driving a vehicle without a proper exhaust and muffler system.