South Dakota AG Ravnsborg charged with careless driving in fatal crash

South Dakota's attorney general Jason Ravnsborg
South Dakota's attorney general Jason Ravnsborg(South Dakota Attorney General Office)
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 2:54 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 12:18 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Prosecutors have charged South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg with three misdemeanors in a fatal September crash.

Ravnsborg has been charged with careless driving, operating a vehicle while using a mobile device, and a driving lane violation for driving outside of his lane

Prosecutors say while Ravnsborg was using his mobile device, he was not using it at the time of striking Joseph Boever. Prosecutors say Ravnsborg was not distracted, according to evidence from the investigation, Ravnsborg’s phone was locked one minute and 15 seconds before impact.

Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell says that a manslaughter charge cannot be brought simply for poor driving, even if someone is killed. Sovell says Ravnsborg was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. South Dakota does not have a negligent homicide law, and thus it can’t be applied in the case.

Beadle Co. State’s Attorney Michael Moore says he spoke to the Boever’s family Thursday morning. He says the family doesn’t love the decision, but that they have to follow the law.

Ravnsborg struck and killed Joseph Boever on the night of Sept. 12 on Highway 14 just west of Highmore. Boever was walking alongside the highway. Ravnsborg told investigators he thought he had struck a deer, and did not realize he hit a man until he returned the next morning to retrieve his car and found Boever’s body.

Ravnsborg has stated he does not believe he committed a crime. He released the below statement following Thursday’s charging announcement.

“This has been a difficult and trying time for everyone involved and I do want to take a moment to thank all the people that continued to reach out to me through emails, calls, letters, and most importantly, prayers. Your support and encouragement is appreciated more than you will ever know.

I appreciate, more than ever, that the presumption of innocence placed within our legal system continues to work. I have always practiced this in my professional life and I understand it even better now as I see that we live in a society where every person enjoys the protection of the law.

I have and will continue to pray for Joe Boever and his family. I cannot imagine their pain and loss and I do send my deepest condolences to them.”

Boever’s family has repeatedly expressed frustration over the protracted nature of the investigation, as has Gov. Kristi Noem.

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