A family member of the man killed when he was hit by a car driven by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he went to the scene of the crash and saw evidence that suggests Ravnsborg’s car was partially on the road shoulder before he applied the brakes.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ravnsborg was driving back home to Pierre after a Republican fundraiser on Saturday night when he told police he had hit a deer. But he actually hit a man: Ravnsborg said in a statement that he and his chief of staff discovered the body of a man, identified as 55-year-old Joe Boever, at the site of the crash the next morning when the attorney general got out of the car to look for the deer he though he’d hit.
Authorities have released few details about the ongoing investigation, and have not confirmed how the attorney general first reported the accident, though Ravnsborg said in his statement that he called 911. The statement also revealed that the Hyde County Sheriff reported to the scene on Saturday night, and let Ravnsborg borrow his personal car to drive back to Pierre, rather than have him wait for a tow truck. In the statement, Ravnsborg insisted that both he and the sheriff had no idea the crash victim was a person, until Ravnsborg found the body the next morning.
Ravnsborg also said he did not consume any alcohol at the fundraiser, which was reportedly 110 miles from his home.
Boever’s cousin Nick Nemec, reportedly a former Democratic lawmaker, posted a comment to an article on the Dakota Free Press, detailing what he found when he went to investigate the crash site.
“Today, 9-15-2020, I went to the accident scene to see it for myself and get a better handle on the events surrounding my cousin Joe’s death,” he wrote.
“At the time the brakes were applied (clearly visible due to tire skid marks) the right hand tires of the car were well onto the shoulder of the road. This stretch of US14 has wide paved shoulders with rumble strips at the white line.
I stepped off the tire skid marks and they went on for over 200 feet before there were two parallel blood skid marks on the paved shoulder. This first blood marks were about 6″ wide and 6′-8′ long. There was then a skip for about 20 feet before a wider blood skid mark closer to the edge of the shoulder that was about 1′ wide and 20′ long. There was then another skip of about 20′ until a dried pool of blood in the grass on the edge of the road.
The pool of blood was 2′ from the edge of the pavement (I measured with a tape measure) the grass here had been mowed late this summer and had regrown to 8″ tall (I measured it). This was the very edge of the grass and the ground was nearly level with the shoulder of the road at this point, the ditch slope had not really begun yet. Black flies were buzzing in the air just above the blood pool.”
Nemec also said in the comment that he saw a flatbed truck carrying that he believed to be Ravnsborg‘s Ford Taurus, and said there was a large hole in the car’s windshield on the passenger side. When Nemec asked highway patrol officers to take photographs of the vehicle, they would not allow it, he said.
Local news station KELO posted photos of the red Ford Taurus at a maintenance lot, showing the damage to the windshield. The article also includes a screenshot of a Facebook post from the attorney general’s account, showing a vehicle that appears to be the same model and color as the damaged car seen in the maintenance lot.
According to that report, Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price said at a news conference this week that the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation would be assisting the state police and the highway patrol with the investigation, to avoid any possible conflict of interest, as the South Dakota Division Criminal of Investigation reports to the attorney general’s office.
As of Thursday, Ravnsborg has not been charged in connection to the fatal crash. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
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[Feature image: By Jravnsbo1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons]