South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg appeared to know he killed a man with his car, agents say during impeachment hearing
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg learned he ran over and killed a man, a pair of North Dakota investigators told a South Dakota legislative panel reviewing impeachment proceedings Wednesday afternoon.
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NDBCI) agents Arnie Rummel and Joe Arenz, who interviewed Ravnsborg twice in the weeks following the deadly 2020 crash, said there was a “very real possibility” that AG knew he hit someone and actually saw the body of Joe Boever, Highmore, SD, 55, whom he killed.
Rummel said: “He was walking with a flashlight that was on. “There was a body lying about 2 feet off the roadway and was clearly dead and he was all white, no blood was pumped in and the fact that the white was reflective, I believe he would have to see him.”
Video of their 2020 interviews with Ravnsborg, with agents telling him some people thought he was lying about not knowing he had killed a man until coming back to the present. accident scene the next day, was posted on the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website for a few days last year. The judge who heard the criminal case against Ravnsborg ordered their removal. But copies still exist online.
On Wednesday, agents told South Dakota lawmakers that not only did some people think Ravnsborg was lying, but both of them felt the same way.
“We feel that what he said means he saw it,” Arenz told the South Dakota House Select Committee, which is currently conducting the first impeachment proceedings in state history. .
NDBCI agents were dispatched through state lines to assist South Dakota authorities in the wake of the September 12, 2020 crash as the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) reported it to the attorney general – Ravnsborg .
In the days after the accident, he asked staff in the DCI office what kind of information could be obtained from his phone.
NDBCI agents drove to the crash site the next day, September 13, after Ravnsborg, who had returned to the area to return the car he had borrowed from the county sheriff Hyde, reported the discovery of the body earlier in the day.
Agents said they felt Ravnsborg knew almost immediately what had happened. They also note that Boever’s DNA was discovered on the windshield of the Ravnsborg vehicle and that Boever’s glass was found inside the vehicle.
Ravnsborg has denied knowing what he hit. When he called 911 shortly after the collision, he first identified himself as the attorney general, then said he had “hit something” and that it was “in the middle of the road.”
Crash investigators say the crash actually happened on the north shoulder of the road at around 10:30 p.m. Boever was walking back to Highmore, apparently after inspecting his pickup truck. , the car had run off the highway a few hours earlier.
In a letterhead statement from the Office of the Attorney General of South Dakota was released on September 14, Ravnsborg said he “didn’t see what I hit” and that he believes he hit a large animal, possibly a deer. Deer-deer collisions are not uncommon in the prairie state, and some have occurred near the scene of previous collisions.
The AG has resisted calls to resign, including from Republican Governor Kristi Noem. On Wednesday morning, Noem – who has called for Ravnsborg to step down and go to the Legislature to impeach him otherwise – sharply criticized Republicans on the House committee, whom she apparently seems to be more interested in defending AG than holding him accountable.
“It pains me that because of a political agenda, some legislators on the committee are attacking the integrity of our law enforcement officers.” she told AP.
The impeachment hearings began a few hours later, and two veteran North Dakota attorneys were playing a central role. It was the third consecutive day of hearings, which continued after they stopped in March 2021 to allow for the finalization of the criminal case against Ravnsborg.
Austin Goss, correspondent for the Capitol Office for three South Dakota television stations, and Joe Sneve, a reporter for Argus Leader, covered the hearing on Twitter.
Rummel said agents believe the attorney general said things in the interviews to be “inaccurate” and showed that he had not fully disclosed what he had seen that last night on the high street. U.S. Highway 14 just west of the small town of Highmore in the center. South Dakota.
Initially, Ravnsborg said he did not use one of the two cell phones he carried with him. He later admitted he had called his father and read stories online while driving, a violation of state law that prohibits drivers from using electronic devices. His body language and the way he phrased his answers to their questions also raised questions in their minds.
Ravnborg testified that he was in the westbound lane, but all evidence from the scene suggests he crashed into Boever as he walked along the north shoulder of the road. His body was found very close to the road.
Ravnsborg said he used his cell phone as a light that night, and data from the phone showed he walked about 800 steps.
Investigators said Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, whom they interviewed three times, admitted that he saw the light in the grass just off the highway but did not examine it, thinking it was an accident. reflection from a piece of debris from Ravnsborg’s red 2011 Ford Taurus during the crash.
It was, in fact, a flashlight that Boever had brought with him. It remained lit, emitting a light “like a beacon” when North Dakota investigators arrived at the crash scene late the next afternoon.
Volek, who after the Ravnsborg crash lent his private car to the AG to complete the trip home to Pierre from a Republican political dinner in Redfield, SD, has never spoken publicly about the behavior. his actions that night.
He died of natural causes in North Carolina on November 2, 2021. He is 69 years old and in poor health.
After pleading guilty to several misdemeanors and a third count dismissed, Ravnsborg was fined $500 for each and ordered to pay court costs. He reached an agreement for an undisclosed amount, with Boever’s wife Jenny, who filed a civil lawsuit.
Rummel and Arenz said that if the fatal crash happened in North Dakota, Ravnsborg would be charged with a felony based on the evidence they gathered and observed.
But with criminal and civil cases behind him, Ravnsborg remained in office and has indeed said he would seek a second term. Another Republican, former Attorney General Marty Jackley, is seeking the nomination from the South Dakota Republican State Convention this summer.
A call and a text request to Mike Deaver of Salt Lake City, who was a spokesman for Ravnsborg, were not returned.
No hearings have been announced by the committee. For impeachment to proceed, the committee would have to introduce it to the full House of Representatives. If a majority of the House members then vote to impeach Ravnsborg, a trial will be held by the state Senate, which will take two-thirds of the vote to convict him and remove him from office.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/south-dakota-ag-jason-ravnsborg-seemed-to-know-he-killed-a-man-with-his-car-agents-say-at-impeachment-hearing?source=articles&via=rss South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg appeared to know he killed a man with his car, agents say during impeachment hearing