Investigation: SD Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was distracted while driving when he struck and killed pedestrian
Craig Price, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety cabinet secretary, said evidence shows that Ravnsborg was distracted when he entered the north shoulder of U.S. Highway 14 while traveling westbound, where he struck Joseph Boever, 55, of Highmore.
PIERRE, S.D. — Investigators have determined that South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ranvsborg was distracted while driving when he hit and killed a man walking along U.S. Highway 14 on Sept 12.
That’s according to an accident report released Monday, Nov. 2, by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
Craig Price, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety cabinet secretary, said evidence shows that Ravnsborg was distracted when he entered the north shoulder of the highway while traveling westbound where he struck Joseph Boever, 55, of Highmore.
The nature of the distraction is under investigation, Price said.
While using a cellular device while driving is prohibited under state law, other types of distractions are not, Price told reporters during Monday’s news conference.
Boever was carrying a light while on the north shoulder of the highway, Price said.
But Price would not provide information on which direction Boever was walking. He did note that pedestrians walking along highways should walk along the shoulder of the highway against traffic if there is no sidewalk.
Ravnsborg was traveling at a speed of 65 mph — the speed limit on that stretch of highway, just west of Highmore — when he struck Boever with the front passenger side of his vehicle.
The Department of Public Safety also released a photo of Ravnsborg's car taken several days after the collision, showing extensive damage to the front passenger side of the car, a dented hood and a smashed in window, also on the passenger side.
Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek responded to the crash but did not advise dispatch of his arrival time.
Ravnsborg was returning home from Redfield the night of the collision after attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner.
Ravnsborg called 911 to report that he had hit something but was unsure of what he hit, telling the dispatcher that his Ford Taurus was inoperable due to the damage it sustained from the crash, according to a recording and transcript of the attorney general's 911 call.
Ravnsborg has previously said Volek offered his personal vehicle for Ravnsborg to use to drive home that night. The attorney general has also said he and his chief of staff, Tim Bormann, returned Volek’s vehicle the next day, but not before stopping at the crash site, at which time Bormann discovered Boever’s body in the grass alongside the highway.
Price said most of the investigation is complete, but the final investigation report is missing findings from other entities involved with the investigation.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisted the South Dakota Highway Patrol in the investigation.
The Ramsey County Coroner's Office in Minnesota is conducting a full autopsy report. Price said the state is still awaiting toxicology results for Boever.
All the investigation’s findings have or will be turned over to the Hyde County State’s Attorney’s Office, who will determine what charges are appropriate and whether or not Ravnsborg will be prosecuted.