Criminal Justice

State attorney general said he thought he hit deer when he struck and killed pedestrian, authorities say

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Jason Ravnsborg headshot

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Photo from

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg told authorities that he thought he hit a deer after striking and killing a pedestrian Saturday night, according to the state highway patrol.

Ravnsborg said in a statement he is cooperating in the investigation and is “shocked and filled with sorrow” following the events. He offered condolences to the family of the victim, 55-year-old Joseph Boever of Highmore, South Dakota.

The Rapid City Journal, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the New York Times, KELO and SDBP Radio have coverage.

Ravnsborg was driving home from a GOP event, the Lincoln Day Dinner, about 10:30 p.m. when the incident happened near Highmore. He called police and informed them that he had struck something, a spokesperson for Ravnsborg told the New York Times.

Boever’s body was discovered the next day. Boever’s cousin, Victor Nemec, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that Boever was apparently walking on the side of the road after hitting a bale of hay with his truck. Boever told his cousin that he struck the bale of hay after going off the road while reaching for tobacco.

Nemec planned to meet Boever on Sunday morning, so they could go fix the truck, but Boever was not home when Nemec arrived.

Authorities did not say whether speed was a factor in the incident. Ravnsborg has had six speeding tickets between 2014 and 2018, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported, citing a background check.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting the state highway patrol in the investigation because of conflicts created by Ravnsborg’s oversight of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

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