By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The South Dakota Highway Patrol continues to investigate the death of a South Dakota man who was allegedly hit Saturday night by a car driven by the state’s attorney general.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, in a statement released about the accident, also said he thought he had hit a deer until he returned to the scene the next day and found the body of 55-year-old Highmore, South Dakota, resident Joseph Boever.
According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Ravnsborg released a two-page statement Monday regarding the crash to dispel any rumors.
Ravnsborg said that he drove home from the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner in Redfield, South Dakota, around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday. He didn’t drink any alcohol before, during or after the event, and said that on his way back to Pierre he hit what he believed to be a deer.
“I didn’t see what I hit and stopped my vehicle immediately to investigate,” he said in the statement.
Ravnsborg was alone and uninjured in the collision. He then called 911 to report hitting a deer.
The Hyde County Sheriff arrived on scene to assess the damage to the AG’s vehicle and look for the deer.
Neither the sheriff nor Ravnsborg saw Boever’s body in the ditch, even though Ravnsborg used his cell phone flashlight to search the area.
Ravnsborg borrowed the sheriff’s personal vehicle to drive back to Pierre that night.
He returned to the scene of the crash the following morning on his way to return the sheriff’s vehicle. He and an employee stopped to look for the animal again, but instead found Boever’s body nearby.
“My chief of staff and I checked and it was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased,” Ravnsborg said. “I immediately drove to Sheriff Volek’s home to report the discovery and he accompanied me back to the scene. Once there, the sheriff instructed me that he would handle the investigation, and asked me to return to Pierre.”
Craig Price, secretary for South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday a medical examination of Boever was conducted in Minnesota because South Dakota’s medical examiner was out-of-state.
Price’s comments came during a news conference with Gov. Kristi Noem.
In addition to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the accident is being investigated by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Price said. He added Ravnsborg and other witnesses are being interviewed as part of the investigation and said the state is looking into working with an out-of-state collision reconstruction expert as well.
Price said details of Ravnsborg’s 911 call to authorities will be released later.
Noem said the issue of whether Ravnsborg will be placed on administrative leave has not yet been addressed.