South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg, 45, completely evaded censure and impeachment on Monday, a year-and-a-half after killing Joseph Boever, 55, in a hit-and-run
Boever was walking along a highway near the small city of Highmore when he was hit. The AG told investigators he thought he had hit a deer
Ravnsborg later discovered the body the next morning on his way to return the car to Sheriff Mike Volek
He was charged with three misdemeanors, pleading no contest to two in a deal and reckless driving was dismissed
The sum of his restitution to date, comprises of two $500 fines and $3,000 in court fees, as well as participating in a district driving education
A special committee on Monday determined it didn’t have enough evidence to impeach the AG and said he ‘did not commit misdemeanor in office’
Voting along party lines, a House Special Investigative Committee of six Republicans and two Democrats decided 6-2 against recommending impeachment
‘Jason Ravnsborg killed a man, lied to investigators about the events of that night, and attempted to cover it up. Joseph Boever’s family deserves justice’ – fellow Republican, Gov. Kristi Noem
South Dakota’s attorney general Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, will not be impeached after he killed a man in a hit-and-run – and then told authorities he thought he slammed into a deer – because officials said there was not sufficient grounds to remove him from office.
Ravnsborg, 45, avoided being censured a year-and-a-half after killing Joseph Boever, 55, on September 12, 2020 while Boever was walking along a highway near the small city of Highmore.
The South Dakota AG may be done with facing any consequences, after moves to obtain censure was turned into a political football.
According to a House Select Committee 22-page report released Monday, there were not sufficient grounds to remove Ravnsborg from office.
A special investigative committee comprising of six Republicans and two democrats set up to examine the fatal hit-and-run voting along party lines, decided 6-2 against recommending impeachment, with six Republicans voting no, and the two Democrats favoring it.
Committee chair Spencer Gosch who did not vote, but this committee’s report stated that “The Select Committee finds under a clear and convincing standard that Attorney General Ravnsborg did not commit misdemeanor in office, as he committed no crime or other wrongful act involving moral turpitude by virtue or authority of his office.”
The full House, which Republicans control with a 62-8 majority, will convene on April 12 to decide if it will accept the report.
The Republican prosecutor told 911 dispatchers that he thought he hit a deer and only found out it was a man after returning to the scene the next morning.
On Monday, a special investigative committee of the South Dakota House of Representatives held a closed-door meeting to discuss whether they should proceed with what would have been the first impeachment trial in the state’s history.
However, along party lines, he committee decided it did not have sufficient grounds to remove him from his post, with six out of the eight members voting against impeachment.
Boever was walking along a highway near the small city of Highmore. Ravnsborg told 911 dispatchers that he thought he hit a deer and only found out it was a man after returning to the scene the next morning. Ravnsborg claims he didn’t know he hit Boever until he saw his body on the side of the road next morning when he was driving Sheriff Mike Volek’s car back to him, despite Boever’s glasses being found in the car.
SD Governor Kristi Noem, a fellow Republican, slammed the decision, stating: ‘Jason Ravnsborg killed a man, lied to investigators about the events of that night, and attempted to cover it up,” Noem said.
“Joseph Boever’s family deserves justice.’
Talk of Ravnsborg’s impeachment began in February after Noem released the video of the AG stumbling through an interview with investigators. He was charged with three misdemeanors, pleading no contest to two counts of reckless driving. He paid two $500 fines and $3,000 in court fees. He also had to take part in a district driving education.
He also settled out-of-court with the Boever family. Widow Jenny Boever and Ranvsborg confirmed their agreement in February without revealing any terms of amounts.
‘They have reached a settlement with the insurance company and Mr. Ravnsborg,’ said Mike Deaver, Ravnsborg’s spokesman.
Boevers’ relatives Nick and Victor Nemec surveyed the area after the crash. Nick said on Tuesday he was ‘disappointed’ and called the ruling a ‘party-line vote’
‘It happened fairly quickly. So there won’t be any kind of civil suits or anything else, as it was an accident.
Ravnsborg was driving home to Pierre, 49 miles west of Highmore, from a political fundraiser when he hit Boever on US 14.
A toxicology test taken 15 hours after the accident found no alcohol in his system and no one at the event saw him drinking, NPR reported. Prosecutors have said Ranvsborg was cooperative in the investigation.
They also said Ravnsborg was on his phone roughly a minute before the crash, but phone records showed it was locked at the moment of impact.
Ravnsborg told investigators that the last thing he remembered before impact was turning off the radio and looking at his speedometer.
The attorney general told 911 dispatchers that he only realized Boever was a man and not a deer when he found his body at the site of the crash the next morning after he went to return Sheriff Mike Volek’s car.
The video shows detectives suggesting that Boever’s body hit Ravnsborg’s windshield so hard that part of Boever’s eyeglasses ended up in the backseat.
‘They’re Joe’s glasses,’ an investigator said, according to Sioux City station KMEG.
Ravnsborg replied: ‘I wondered, worried, wondered about that.’
‘So that means his face came through your windshield,’ the investigator said.
He apologized to the victim’s family in August, releasing a statement saying he was ‘very sorry Joe Boever lost his life in this accident. I am sorry to the entire family for the loss of their loved one’ and that he wished they had met ‘under different circumstances.’
He then talked about his accomplishments while in office.
The Boever is up for reelection as South Dakota state attorney general in November.
‘I do not know all the Lord has in store for me, but I trust in Him. As I continue my service as your attorney general, I’ll keep fighting for you, just as I have since the day I took office. May God bless each of you, and may God continue to bless South Dakota,’ he said at the time.
The family is now supporting the governor’s calls from Ravnsborg to resign.
‘I’m disappointed,’ Nick Nemec, the victim’s cousin who was with Jenny at the time of the crash, told the Daily Beast on Tuesday.
‘I was hoping some of the Republicans on the committee would vote for impeachment. But it was a straight party-line vote,’ she said.
Nemec also said he expected the House to move forward with the committee’s recommendation.
‘I’m not hopeful at all,’ he said.
The AG’s attorney Tim Rensch called his client an ‘honorable man’ in September and said the case was ‘not a homicide case, and it’s not a manslaughter case.’
‘Accidents happen, people die. It should not happen. No one wants anybody to die,’ he said.