UPDATE (6:32 p.m.): Late Tuesday afternoon, videos of two interviews conducted with South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg following a fatal vehicle-pedestrian crash Sept. 12 in Hyde County were released by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety at the direction of Gov. Kristi Noem.
Both interviews were conducted by Special Agents of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Portions of the audio and video have been redacted because the Attorney General referenced confidential information that is not relevant to this crash investigation.
The two videos can be found at: https://dps.sd.gov/.
UPDATE (2:23 p.m.): Two Articles of Impeachment have been filed in the South Dakota House against Attorney general Jason Ravnsborg.
The articles were filed by Rep. Will Mortenson (R-District 24).
“Earlier today, I filed a Resolution including Articles of Impeachment calling for the removal of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from office,” Mortenson said in a press release. “The decision was unpleasant and the situation is truly tragic, for all involved.”
Mortenson added, “The filing followed months of consideration and advice. Ultimately, I felt that while the charging decision may have been correct, the Attorney General owes a higher duty to the Laws of the State of South Dakota and the People of the State of South Dakota. In his actions on the night of September 12, 2020, and following the incident, Attorney General Ravnsborg breached that duty and has lost the confidence of the people of South Dakota. When that happens, I believe the Legislature has an obligation to exercise its constitutional authority to remove him from office.”
ORIGINAL STORY: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday called on the state's attorney general to resign as he faces misdemeanor charges for striking and killing a man with his car.
Jason Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement officer, has indicated he will not step down while he waits for the case against him to proceed. Prosecutors have charged him with three misdemeanors but no felonies in the September death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever.
“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign,” Noem said in a statement. She promised to release more details from the crash investigation.
Republican legislators are also weighing whether to impeach Ravnsborg if he does not step down.
The attorney general, who was elected to his first term in 2018, was driving home to Pierre from a Republican fundraiser late on Sept. 12 when he struck and killed Boever, who was walking on the shoulder of the highway. Ravnsborg initially told authorities that he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal and said he searched the unlit area with a cellphone flashlight. He said he didn’t realize he had killed a man until the next day when he returned to the accident scene.
After an investigation that stretched over five months, prosecutors said they still had questions about the crash but were unable to file more serious criminal charges against Ravnsborg. They charged him with careless driving, driving out of his lane and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone.
Prosecutors found he was not using his phone at the time of the crash, but had been using it while driving about one minute before. The attorney general could face up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine on each charge, if convicted.
The Yankton Press & Dakotan contributed to this story.