A South Dakota family is calling the state’s attorney general a “coward” after he struck and killed a man with his vehicle, an incident relatives fear might be covered up, the Daily Mail reports.
Earlier this month, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hit 55-year-old Joe Boever while driving in a rural part of the state after attending a fundraiser.
Ravnsborg called 911 and told the operator that he believed he had struck a deer or other large animal, but in fact he had hit Boever.
Victor Nemec, 58, Boever’s cousin, told the Daily Mail he is skeptical of Ravnsborg’s story.
“Jason Ravnsborg is a coward for how he’s acted since killing my cousin,” Nemec told the Daily Mail. “I think his first reaction to the situation was how to save his own a**. Instead of telling us what really happened. He needed to do the right thing even if it’s going to hurt his career.”
Nemec added: “I believe this state is going to try to cover this up as much as possible.”
Nemec is a farmer who was the last person to see Boever before the incident.
“Last Saturday at 7:49 p.m. to be exact, I was at my brother’s house and I had received a call from my cousin Joe. He told me he had accidentally driven his pickup in a ditch and slammed it into a big round bale of hay, and needed me to come get him and give him a ride home,” Nemec told the Daily Mail.
Nemec told the newspaper that Boever said to him he had crashed the truck while attempting to retrieve tobacco that had fallen on the floor.
In the interview with the Daily Mail, Nemec said he and Boever were planning to get the truck in the morning, as it was getting dark, and that he was concerned about the blood sugar level of his cousin, who had recently been diagnosed with diabetes.
“He was acting a little sluggish,” Nemec told the newspaper.
Nemec met up with Boever and they arrived back at Boever’s home around 8:30 p.m. that evening. Boever checked his blood sugar level and it was normal, and told Nemec he was going to sleep and would see him the next day.
Nemec told the Daily Mail he doesn’t know why Boever tried going back to his truck, except that maybe he forgot something in it and was attempting to get it when he was struck by Ravnsborg.
The next day, Nemec called his cousin multiple times without getting an answer. On his way to check up on him, Nemec saw police and emergency vehicles on the road next to where the pickup was located, and later called the sheriff to inquire if it was related to Boever, but he didn’t get an answer.
Hours later, Nemec watched on television as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced during a press conference that Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal vehicle crash.
Nemec told the Daily Mail he then dialed up his brother Nick and raised concerns that it might be Boever who was involved in the crash.
That evening, Nemec got a call from an investigator asking him to go to a funeral home so he could identify Boever’s body.
“I was sickened when I first saw my cousin in the body bag, we only saw his face,” Nemec told the Daily Mail. “His face was bruised and scraped up, we saw it from the side. His head was misshaped like he suffered from some great trauma.”
Ravnsborg issued a statement days after the crash asserting that he did not realize he struck a person but still stopped immediately and called 911. He said neither he nor the sheriff suspected he had hit a person.
The following morning, Ravnsborg returned to the crash scene, found Boever’s body and immediately notified the sheriff.
Public records show Ravnsborg has had multiple speeding and traffic tickets previously. He was ticketed eight times between 2014 and 2018 for speeding in South Dakota and Iowa. He also has been cited for failure to wear a seatbelt and not having a proper exhaust and muffler system.
Ravnsborg pleaded guilty to six of the offenses and paid fines.
The attorney general has also shared images of him behind the wheel, according to the Daily Mail.
In one picture from October 2019, he wrote: “As many of you know I spend many hours behind the wheel traveling our great state, so I thought I would show you some of my great views and take more pictures of South Dakota as I travel.”
Investigators from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety are probing the crash and say Ravnsborg is “fully cooperating,” according to the Daily Mail.
Boever’s wife, Jennifer Boever, 54, told the newspaper that her husband “was the love of my life.” She does not believe Ravnsborg missed seeing his body on the night of the crash. “My husband is 6 feet tall and weighs almost 190 lbs. I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find him on the side of the road,” she told the Daily Mail.
Jennifer Boever added that she has yet to receive an apology from the attorney general. If he does apologize, she told the newspaper she knows what she’ll say.
“You’ve taken a son, a husband, a brother, an uncle. You’ve taken all of this and politely just kind of swept it under the rug,” she told the Daily Mail.
Jennifer Boever described her husband as “a quiet, decent, loving man.”
“I just want Joe to get the justice he deserves,” she told the newspaper.
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