The South Dakota attorney general has not yet been charged with a crime five months after he hit a pedestrian, who was found dead the morning after Jason Ravnsborg left the scene, claiming he couldn’t find what he had hit.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ravnsborg was driving home from a Republican fundraiser in mid-September when he called 911 to say he hit something on a remote stretch of U.S. Highway 14. The attorney general reportedly indicated that he believed he may have hit a deer, but said he had not been able to find anything. Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, an acquaintance, reported to the scene and lent Raynsborg his personal vehicle to drive home, rather than have the attorney general wait for a tow.
The next morning, Ravnsborg himself returned to the scene and discovered a body, later identified as 55-year-old Joe Boever. The Saturday night he was fatally struck, Boever had been walking to his own vehicle, which had became disabled when he crashed into a hale bay earlier that day. Boever had reportedly gotten a ride from his cousin and the two planned to have the truck repaired the next day. It is not known why Boever, who lived about 1.5 miles away, walked to his disabled vehicle that night.
As the Daily Beast reports, Ravnsborg has not been charged in connection to Boever’s death. The attorney general said in a statement shortly after the fatal incident that he did not drink any alcohol at the fundraising dinner, which was held at Rooster’s Bar & Grill in Redfield. He submitted a blood sample the next day, which did not detect alcohol — but 15 hours had passed since he fatally struck Boever. This fall, a reporter for Abderdeen News asked the manager whether she had seen Ravnsborg drink alcohol at the fundraising dinner, and she declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
There are also questions about whether Boever was killed instantly, or could have been saved. As noted in the Aberdeen News, Boever’s body was found just a few feet where Ravnsborg’s car was towed away. Sheriff Volek has not spoken to reporters about the incident, and it is unclear how long he looked for who or what Ravnsborg hit when he went to the scene that night.
For the Daily Beast, Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore explained the possible charges that Raynsborg could face, noting that negligent homicide isn’t an option.
“In order for the operator to be criminally responsible for the death (if they are not under the influence) their actions must be reckless or intentional,” Moore told the news outlet. “The South Dakota Legislature, I believe in 2019, rejected a negligent homicide law, thus leaving reckless or intentional actions as the only means of an operator to have criminal liability.”
As the report notes, Ravnsborg has numerous driving citations, including six speeding tickets 2014 and 2018, none that brought a penalty more severe than a small fine. He has continued to work uninterrupted since the crash, and as authorities have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances of Boever’s death.
“Next week will mark five months since the crash,” Boever’s cousin Nick Nemec said in an interview with the Daily Beast. “I’ve prepared myself mentally for some sort of guilty plea to a minor traffic violation on the order of ‘crossing the white line.’”