Is South Dakota’s Republican Attorney General responsible for the death of a 55-year-old man?
That’s the question that South Dakota police are trying to determine after Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer with his sedan while headed westbound on U.S. Highway 14 on Saturday night.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said Monday morning that rather than an animal, it was a human being that Ravnsborg actually struck with his vehicle, a fact that wasn’t discovered until the next morning.
The DPS press release says that the attorney general “told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that around 10:30 p.m. he hit a deer a mile west of Highmore,” South Dakota.
What the press release doesn’t reveal is whether “Ravnsborg stopped to confirm that he hit a deer or inspect his vehicle for damage. It also doesn’t say if Ravnsborg called 911, the non-emergency line or someone from the office,” The Rapid City Journal reports. The newspaper states that it has requested audio recordings of this call and all other calls related to the crash.
While police confirmed that the body of 55-year-old Joe Boever was discovered the morning after Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer, the press release does not indicate exactly where Boever was found and the circumstances of the discovery.
Because the agency that would typically investigate an incident such as this, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, reports into the attorney general’s office officials have asked their neighboring state’s North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation to help conduct the investigation to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest in the inquiry into the incident.
Ravnsborg was reportedly driving home after attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner earlier in the evening at a bar and grill when the collision took place.
According to Bloomberg News, Ravnsborg claims that he wasn’t drinking at the event, but it also reports that “Ravnsborg has received six traffic tickets for speeding in South Dakota over the last six years. He also received tickets for a seat belt violation and for driving a vehicle without a proper exhaust and muffler system.”
The family of the man killed in the hit and run accident is demanding answers.
“A deer doesn’t look like a human,” said Boever’s cousin, former state Rep. Nick Nemec (D), according to the Dickinson Press. “My cousin got run over by the Attorney General.”
“We’ve got questions why it took so long to contact us,” Nemec said. “Was our cousin laying dead on the highway for nearly a day while they were investigating? I don’t know.”
Hopefully, the investigators will have an easier time distinguishing someone guilty of leaving the scene of an accident than the attorney general was apparently capable of noticing the difference between a deer and a human.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.