Speed Reads

happening in south dakota

South Dakota attorney general faces impeachment following deadly car accident

Jason Ravnsborg.

Articles of impeachment have been filed against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R), after new evidence emerged in a fatal car crash he was involved in last September.

The accident took place at around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, as Ravnsborg drove home from a Republican fundraiser. Ravnsborg initially told investigators he thought he hit an animal, but after returning to the scene the next day, he found the body of 55-year-old Joseph Boever. Ravnsborg was charged with three misdemeanors last week — careless driving, driving out of his lane, and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone — and faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

On Tuesday, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety released video of two three-hour interviews of Ravnsborg recorded on Sept. 14 and 30. During the Sept. 30 interview, Ravnsborg is told that detectives found a pair of broken reading glasses inside his vehicle that had belonged to Boever. "His face was in your windshield, Jason," one investigator told him. "Think about that." Ravnsborg denied seeing the glasses or a bright flashlight Boever was carrying; the light was still on when detectives arrived at the scene on Sept. 13.

After the interviews were made public, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) called on Ravnsborg to resign, and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers filed two articles of impeachment against him. "I do not believe Attorney General Ravnsborg belongs in prison," state Rep. Will Mortenson (R) told the Argus Leader, "but I know he does not belong in the Office of the Attorney General anymore." A private spokesman for Ravnsborg said he will not step down.

Nick Nemec, Boever's cousin, told The Washington Post the videos are proof that Ravnsborg "knew there was a dead man in that ditch. He knew what he hit and he lied." Nemec said he doesn't understand why Ravnsborg was charged with misdemeanors, and had been "hoping he would be charged with involuntary manslaughter, but that didn't happen. He's grossly undercharged."