By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Jason Ravnsborg quickly told the 911 dispatcher he hit “something…that was in the middle of the road” when he called for help on Sept. 12, according to a transcript of the call released recently by officials.
The South Dakota attorney general told the dispatcher he wasn’t sure what he hit, but his car had been severely damaged upon impact.
“I hit something,” he said to the dispatcher.
The next day, Ravnsborg discovered he hit a person, 55-year-old Joseph Boever, who had died sometime after being struck by the attorney general’s vehicle.
The Sept. 12 accident is still under investigation by a number of authorities, including a Wyoming crash reconstruction expert and the North Dakota Bureau of Investigation, according to The Associated Press.
In the 911 call, the dispatcher asked Ravnsborg if he possibly struck a deer and he responded that he did not know, later adding that it could have been a deer and that it was right in the roadway.
The toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol were found in Ravnsborg’s system, although it should be noted that he took his first toxicology screening more than 12 hours after the collision.
After the crash, Ravnsborg issued a statement reiterating that he hadn’t been drinking while at an event in Redfield, South Dakota, before driving home to Pierre. He was alone in his vehicle.
“I didn’t see what I hit and stopped my vehicle immediately to investigate,” he said in the statement.
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.