Noem “outraged” at result of Ravnsborg’s plea agreement in fatal crash case

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2014 file photo, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg speaks...
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2014 file photo, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg speaks in Sioux Falls, S.D.(AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File)
Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 8:36 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she is “outraged” at the result of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s plea agreement Thursday.

Attorney General Ravnsborg pled no contest Thursday to two misdemeanor charges following a fatal crash in September.

Ravnsborg avoided a trial and took a plea deal Thursday morning. Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to charges of making an illegal lane change and using a phone while driving, each carrying a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. Ravnsborg was originally charged with three misdemeanors but prosecutors dropped a careless driving charge as part of the deal.

Ravnsborg was fined $500 on both counts and $3,000 for costs to secure the scene of the crash. The request for Ravnsborg to cover the cost of Boever’s funeral was denied.

On September 12, Ravnsborg was traveling late on a highway near Highmore after attending a political fundraiser. Ravnsborg called 911 following the crash and explained to a dispatcher that he was unsure what he hit. Ravnsborg discovered the body of 55-year-old Joseph Boever the next morning when returning to his vehicle. Ravnsborg told investigators he thought he struck a deer while driving home.

The widow of the man killed, Joseph Boever, has indicated she plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Ravnsborg.

Ravnsborg released the following statement:

On September 12, 2020, two families were changed forever.

First and foremost, I am very sorry Joe Boever lost his life in this accident. I am sorry to the entire family for the loss of their loved one. They have had to deal with the pain, anger, and sadness of this accident.

With respect for Joe, his family, and the judicial process, I have fully cooperated with the investigation from the beginning and refrained from making statements to the media.

While nothing I say will bring Joe back, I believe it’s appropriate to share a few of my thoughts at this time.

Joe’s death weighs heavily on me and always will. I’ve often wondered why the accident occurred and all the things that had to have happened to make our lives intersect. I’ve wished thousands of times our paths would have crossed under different circumstances.

The media has reported many untrue, and misleading things they want you to believe are facts. Partisan opportunists from both sides of the aisle have manufactured rumors, conspiracy theories and made statements in direct contradiction to the evidence all sides agreed upon. These are the same people who try to take others down at any cost.

I ran to be your attorney general because I believe in the law; I believe in fairness, due process, and doing what’s right. Now, having experienced the legal system from both sides, I renew my commitment to be transparent and responsive to the needs of the people of South Dakota.

We have built an incredible team of hard-working professionals who seek to serve you in the Attorney General’s office each day. We’ve made significant accomplishments in record time.

We still face challenges. We will continue the dialogue about marijuana and how to regulate it. We’re finalizing the terms of the $26 billion opioid settlement to address opioids and fentanyl and still battling the meth epidemic.

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.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem also released a statement on Thursday. Noem is calling for the South Dakota House of Representatives to review the case files and consider impeachment.

Noem says she believes Ravnsborg should resign. Noem also says she is “disappointed” in how the process was handled by prosecutors and that she is “outraged” at the result of the plea hearing and sentencing.

“Ravnsborg has not accepted responsibility for the death of Joseph Boever and did not even appear in court today to face the charges or the Boever family,” Noem said.

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