State attorney general is convicted in impeachment trial that cited differing accounts of fatal crash
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Photo from the South Dakota attorney general’s office.
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has been convicted and removed from current and future office in an impeachment trial stemming from a fatal crash.
Ravnsborg struck and killed a pedestrian, 55-year-old Joseph Boever, in the September 2020 crash following a political fundraiser. Ravnsborg didn’t stop after the crash and told investigators that he thought that he hit a deer. Ravnsborg found Boever’s body when he returned to the crash scene the next day.
The South Dakota Senate convicted Ravnsborg on Tuesday on impeachment charges of committing a crime that caused death and malfeasance for allegedly misleading investigators and misusing his office.
Impeachment prosecutors claimed that Ravnsborg likely saw the man he struck and killed, that he repeatedly referred to himself as the attorney general during the investigation to gain influence, and that he made misstatements after the crash, according to the AP.
Prosecutors played video showing his differing accounts of the crash. At first, Ravnsborg said he hadn’t been using his cellphone while driving but later said he had used the phone in the minutes before the crash. Ravnsborg said he was in the middle of the road when the crash happened, but a reconstruction of the crash indicated that he had veered out of his lane.
Ravnsborg had pleaded no contest in August 2021 to misdemeanor criminal charges in connection with the crash. The charges were making an illegal lane change and using a phone while driving. He said he wasn’t using his phone, however, at the exact time of the crash.
Ravnsborg reached a confidential settlement with Boever’s widow in September, according to the AP.
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