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GOP attorney general killed a man and reported hitting a deer

Update (8/25/21): Ravnsborg will plead guilty to misdemeanor traffic violations, NBC News reports (story here).

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican (of course), killed a man walking on a road Saturday night, September 12, 2020, while returning home from a fundraiser. He called police and reported hitting a “deer.”

Authorities aren’t saying whether Ravnsborg called 911 or reported the accident at the time. The body wasn’t found until the next day.

Relatives of the 55-year-old victim said he probably was returning to a car he’d left for repairs earlier that day.

Ravnsborg’s driving history includes a half dozen speeding tickets between 2014 and 2018. Read story here and here.

Image, left: Artist’s conception of a typical South Dakota pedestrian

Update (9/15/20): Ravnsborg insisted he wasn’t drinking, but relatives of the victim, Jason Boever (photo, right), called the authorities’ response “fishy,” prompting the governor to order an outside investigation. The photos below show the victim’s damaged vehicle in a field and its tire tracks in the field. Read update here.

Update (10/13/20): The autopsy confirmed Boever died from vehicle impact. He told the relatives he went off the road while reaching down to pick up a tobacco pouch he dropped. Ravnsborg’s blood alcohol wasn’t checked until the following afternoon even though the sheriff went to the accident scene and helped Ravnsborg search for the “deer.” Read update here and here.

Update (11/2/20): Ravnsborg was “distracted” when he drove “onto a highway shoulder” and killed Boever, who was “walking on the side of the road and displaying some type of light.” (Read update here.) In most states, for most drivers, that would be enough to result in criminal charges.

Update (2/18/21): Ravnsborg is being charged with three misdemeanors: “Operating a vehicle while using a mobile or electronic device, a lane driving violation for driving outside his lane and careless driving,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported. The state’s attorney said Ravnsborg wasn’t under the influence and the state couldn’t prove more serious charges. (Read update here.)

Update (5/3/21): Ravnsborg, an Army Reservist, announced in April he was being promoted to full colonel. He was premature. The promotion “has since been flagged and will not move ahead for confirmation in the U.S. Senate until criminal charges facing Ravnsborg are resolved,” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported (here).

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