Details of fatal crash: South Dakota attorney general returned to scene, found body

By STEPHEN GROVES Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said in a statement late Monday that he realized he had struck and killed a pedestrian on a rural stretch of highway only after returning to the scene the next day and finding the body.

Jason Ravnsborg in 2014. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File) 

The state’s top law enforcement officer said he initially thought he hit a deer while driving home from a Republican fundraiser on Saturday night. He is under investigation by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Ravnsborg said he immediately called 911 after the crash on U.S. Highway 14, around 10:30 p.m. He said he didn’t realize he had hit a man until he returned to the scene the next morning.

Authorities identified the dead man as 55-year-old Joseph Boever. He had crashed his truck in that area earlier, according to relatives, and was apparently walking to it when he was hit.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem revealed Sunday that Ravnsborg had been involved in a fatal crash and asked the Department of Public Safety to investigate, but neither she nor the agency provided any details at that point.

The Department of Public Safety issued a statement Monday saying only that Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office he had hit a deer. Department spokesman Tony Mangan would not confirm whether Ravnsborg called 911.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also participating in the investigation. The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, which would normally be involved, is part of the attorney general’s office. It is standard practice to request an outside agency to conduct an investigation when there may be a conflict of interest.

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Ravnsborg said Sunday he was “shocked and filled with sorrow.” He released a second statement on Monday night detailing his account of the accident, saying it was necessary to dispel rumors.

Ravnsborg said he was driving the 110 miles from a Republican fundraiser Saturday night in Redfield to his home in Pierre. About 70 miles into the drive, on Highway 14 just west of Highmore, his vehicle hit something he believed was a large animal.

Ravnsborg said he immediately stopped and called 911. He used his cellphone flashlight to look around the area but didn’t see what he had hit.

Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek arrived, and the two men filled out paperwork for Ravnsborg’s car to be repaired, the attorney general said. With his own car wrecked, Ravnsborg said, he borrowed the sheriff’s personal car to return to his home.

The next morning, he and chief of staff Tim Bormann drove back to return the sheriff’s car.

They stopped at the spot of the accident, and Ravnsborg said he discovered Boever’s body in the grass just off the shoulder of the road. He said it was apparent Boever was dead.

Ravnsborg said he drove to Volek’s house and reported the body. They both returned to the accident scene, where Volek said he would handle the investigation and asked Ravnborg to return to Pierre, according to Ravnsborg’s statement.

Ravnsborg said he was cooperating …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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