State AG faces impeachment for fatal car crash; ‘his face came through your windshield,’ cop says
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Photo from ATG.SD.gov.
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is refusing to resign as lawmakers begin impeachment proceedings against him for a fatal car crash that killed a pedestrian.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for the resignation Tuesday after officials released videos of Ravnsborg’s interviews with police, report the Washington Post, the New York Times, NPR and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Both Noem and Ravnsborg are Republicans.
Ravnsborg called police after the incident. He has said he thought he hit a deer while driving home from a GOP dinner in September 2020, and he did not see anything when he searched the area with his cellphone flashlight. But in the interview video, police told Ravnsborg that they had found a pair of broken reading glasses in Ravnsborg’s car that belonged to the man who was killed, Joseph Boever of Highmore, South Dakota.
“They’re Joe’s glasses, so that means his face came through your windshield,” one of the detectives told Ravnsborg.
Ravnsborg had found Boever’s body when he returned to the crash scene the next day. Ravnsborg had no alcohol or drugs in his system when samples were taken more than 12 hours after the crash.
He was charged last week with three misdemeanors: careless driving, driving out of his lane, and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone. One investigator told Ravnsborg during an interview that he was on cellphone news sites one to two minutes before calling 911.
“So when we look at that, our concern is everything we are seeing here is it’s appearing you were on your phone reading political stuff at the time,” the officer said. “Part of this, Jason, is we have a job, right? People make mistakes. We’re thinking you made one.”
Ravnsborg said he wasn’t on the phone right before the incident.