South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers make final points on Ravnsborg crash
Troopers John Berndt and Kevin Kinney of the South Dakota Highway Patrol gave a briefing Wednesday specifically for state lawmakers aimed at giving a look at how they conducted their investigation, and what they believed happened the night that Joe Boever died.
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers John Berndt and Sergeant Kevin Kinney both said they believed Ravnsborg had been distracted and outside the lane of travel when he struck and killed Joe Boever in September of 2020.
Ravnsborg has previously claimed that he was distracted by either the radio or the speedometer when he struck Boever, but both Kinney and Berndt speculated that he had to be distracted by something for longer before Joe Boever came through his windshield, and then rode on the hood of his car for over 100 feet.
“The area of impact was so far off the roadway, it takes him so long to stop, as we described,” said Berndt. “The amount of evidence found in the vehicle and and around where the impact happened... We don’t know what happened, we just know it wasn’t normal.”
Over forty House lawmakers attended the briefing, either in person or via Zoom.
Amongst those who attended was State Rep. Will Mortenson (R-Pierre), who brought the original resolution to consider impeaching Ravnsborg last year.
“All the evidence we had when I brought the first articles of impeachment have only been confirmed by these broader reports,” Mortenson said after the briefing. “The Attorney General ran off the road, and caused the death of Joe Boever... He committed a crime. That is the reason Joe Boever is dead.”
The troopers told lawmakers that the “Select Committee on Investigation,” which voted against impeaching Ravnsborg last month, opted against hearing their presentation, and instead in favor of asking them specific questions about briefing materials they received beforehand.
Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham), chair of the select committee, noted that almost all who testified before the committee did so in a question and answer style form.
“We had the documents in hand, we can read, and we felt we didn’t need a sales pitch,” Gosch said in a statement. Gosch has accused the executive branch of interfering with the impeachment process on multiple occasions. “The real question is why did they feel that they needed to put on a presentation if not to influence bias? We didn’t need talking points, we needed facts.”
Lawmakers who attended in person were concerned by the committee’s decision to not hear the briefing.
“They turned down this briefing, and I think that is inexcusable,” said State Rep. Tim Goodwin (R-Rapid City). Goodwin was the first Republican lawmaker to publicly call for Ravnsborg to leave office. “I am going to formally request that everyone in the House see this briefing when we come back to decide on impeachment, because it was very professional and explained everything in great detail.”
The briefing was one of the last times that House lawmakers will convene in any sort of manner before they return to Pierre on April 12th to vote on whether or not they should impeachment Ravnsborg, and trigger a trial in the Senate. To do so would require a 36 votes, a simple majority.
Dakota News Now live-streamed the public briefing below, and on Facebook.
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