South Dakota Senate convicts Ravnsborg in impeachment trial

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was removed by the state senate after a fatal crash he was involved in in September of 2020.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:37 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - UPDATE, 5:25 p.m.: The South Dakota Senate has convicted Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg in an impeachment trial over a 2020 car crash in which he killed a pedestrian.

Senators voted to convict Ravnsborg on both articles of impeachment leveled against Ravnsborg Tuesday evening. The Senate also barred Ravnsborg from holding any state office in the future in a separate vote.

Ravnsborg now hold the dubious distinction of being the first elected official in South Dakota history to be impeached.

The impeachment trial stemmed from Ravnsborg’s involvement in a fatal 2020 crash where he struck and killed pedestrian Joe Boever near Highmore. Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher the night of the crash that he might have struck a deer or other large animal, and has said he didn’t know he struck a man until he returned to the scene the next morning. Criminal investigators said they didn’t believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements about it.

Previous story:

South Dakota senators have begun hearing evidence for the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, whose account of a fatal 2020 traffic accident led officials to question whether he should keep his title.

Scroll down for a livestream of the trial and the latest tweets from Statehouse Reporter Austin Goss.

Prosecutors began Tuesday by saying Ravnsborg knew he mislead investigators and used his position as Attorney General to his advantage in the aftermath of the crash.

Ravnsborg’s defense argued there has been no findings that he was criminally responsible for Boever’s death, and that impeachment is a tool rarely used anywhere in the U.S.

The proceedings are expected to take two days. Following opening statements, each side will also have four hours to present witness testimony, exhibits, and cross-examine witnesses.

Ravnsborg, who said he thought he struck a deer that night, has previously claimed that he was distracted by either the radio or the speedometer when he struck Boever, but South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers John Berndt and Sergeant Kevin Kinney speculated that he had to have been distracted by something else before Boever came through his windshield, and then rode on the hood of his car for over 100 feet.

Since Ravnsborg was elected Attorney General, he has received eight traffic warnings and video evidence shows him using his title to evade consequences. Through the investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol notes that Ravnsborg has been pulled over numerous times going back to 1996.

Ravnsborg has confirmed he will not seek reelection in November.

The impeachment trial is being streamed live, watch below with Dakota News Now.

An earlier portion of the trial is available below.

Dakota News Now Statehouse Reporter Austin Goss is as the proceedings in Pierre. Follow his latest tweets below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.