Jason Ravnsborg, the Attorney General of South Dakota, was recently convicted by the state’s Senate this past Tuesday on a pair of impeachment charges seemingly in relation to his September 2020 car crash that ended in the death of a pedestrian on the highway.
The chief law enforcement official was officially convicted by the Senate of South Dakota of committing a crime that resulted in the death of a person and an additional charge of malfeasance, seemingly alleging that he willfully misled the investigation teams with his testimony of the fatal crash. He stands as the first official in the state’s history to be both impeached and convicted.
“The convictions required a two-thirds majority. Senators only mustered the bare minimum 24 votes to convict Ravnsborg on the first charge, with some senators saying the two misdemeanors he pleaded guilty to weren’t serious enough crimes to warrant impeachment. The malfeasance charge … sailed through with 31 votes,” read a report from the Associated Press.
On the evening of the incident, Ravnsborg reportedly made a call to 911 and stated to the dispatcher that he thought he has struck a large animal, which he thought was a deer. He went on to say that once police officials had made it onto the scene, neither of them thought that a person had been hit by the car. Due to the fact that the attorney general’s car was totaled and entirely undrivable, and that a tow truck would have taken another hour or more to arrive, the two went to the personal residence of the sheriff and the AG then borrowed the sheriff’s personal vehicle to make his way home.
The next day, the state’s attorney general stated, he was on his way to give the car back, along with his chief of staff, when the pair decided to stop by the area of the accident to see if they could locate the animal that they thought he had hit the previous night.
Instead of an animal, the pair found the deceased body of 55-year-old Joseph Boever, a nearby resident of Highmore, South Dakota, laying in a ditch.
“As I walked along the shoulder of the road, I discovered the body of Mr. Boever, in the grass just off the roadway. My chief of staff and I checked and it was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased,” claimed Ravnsborg, who went on to add that he then drove straight to the home of the sheriff in order to tell him.
Despite the AG’s words, quite a few lawmakers and the criminal investigators ultimately did not believe the narrative set out by the AG. “There’s no question that was a lie,” stated top-ranking Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, as reported by the AP. “This person ran down an innocent South Dakotan.”
Officially, articles of impeachment were set in place against him back in early 2021 after he was charged with three misdemeanors, including one count of operating his car while using a cellphone, one count of failing to stay in his lane on the highway, and one count of careless driving, as reported by The Grand Forks Herald.