Investigators questioned how Jason Ravnsborg could not have seen what he’d hit when the victim’s glasses were in his car and “his face came through your windshield.”
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has maintained since his fatal crash last fall that he didn’t see what he’d hit—but a newly released video of his police interview has revealed that the victim’s face literally “came through” his windshield.
In videos released late Tuesday by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, investigators can be seen challenging Ravnsborg’s claim that he didn’t see what it was he struck during the crash on Sept. 12, 2020. Ravnsborg was driving home from a Republican Party event that night when he struck and killed 55-year-old Joe Boever. Boever’s body was only found a day later, however, after Ravnsborg initially called 911 to report only that he’d hit “something” that he thought could have been a deer.
During an interrogation on Sept. 30, investigators noted Boever’s glasses were found inside Ravnsborg’s 2011 Ford Taurus.
“That means his face came through your windshield,” said a North Dakota Bureau of Investigation agent, one of two who questioned Ravnsborg for more than three hours in a pair of sessions.
“His face is in your windshield,” the agent said as Ravnsborg groans. “Think about it.”
Ravnsborg said he didn’t see the glasses, either, even when he later went through the front seat looking for an insurance card to show to Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who lives near the crash site and responded to the 911 call.
The agent said the broken glasses found inside Ravnsborg’s car belonged to Boever, who was walking into Highmore when he was struck and killed.
Ravnsborg also was asked why he didn’t see a flashlight Boever was carrying when the crash occurred at 10:24 p.m. When the agents arrived from North Dakota, it was still on, shining “like a beacon,” they said.
The agents also told Ravnsborg they knew he was on the shoulder of the road when the crash occurred. He did not have an explanation for why he was there.
The investigators also noted he had made calls and looked at websites while he was driving from the Republican Party event in Redfield back to Pierre, the state capital. Ravnsborg had clicked on a Real Clear Politics story on Joe Biden and China just before the crash. He told investigators he had set the phone down before the impact.
“I believe I did not do anything wrong,” Ravnsborg said. “I did not see him or anything. I did not know it was a man until the next day.”
The videos were part of a collection of information released Tuesday, more than five months after the crash.
The Republican official, who was charged last week with three misdemeanors—careless driving, failure to remain in his lane, and talking on a cellphone while driving, albeit prior to the crash—has been asked to resign by Gov. Kristi Noem, and articles of impeachment have been introduced in the legislature.
So far, Ravnsborg—pronounced “Rounds-berg”—said he would not step down.
“The Attorney General does not intend to resign. At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office,” a statement released Tuesday by his private spokesman said. “Instead, he has handled some of the largest settlements and legislative issues the state has ever been through.”
“As an attorney and a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves, AG Ravnsborg has fought for the rule of law and personal liberties and would hope that he is afforded the same right and courtesy.”
Noem, a first-term Republican, said it’s time for Ravnsborg to go.
“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the attorney general should resign,” she said in a statement. “I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.”
Legislators from both parties are calling for his impeachment or resignation.
State Rep. Will Mortenson (R-Sioux Falls), filed impeachment articles Tuesday afternoon, with House Majority Leader Kent Peterson (R-Salem) and Minority Leader Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) offering support.
There were two articles of impeachment, one for the fatal crash, the other for Ravnsborg’s statements and actions in reporting the crash and during the investigation.
“Following the collision, including during his reporting of the collision and the resulting investigation, Jason Ravnsborg undertook actions unbecoming the Attorney General,” article two states. “Jason Ravnsborg’s statements and actions failed to meet the standard of the Office of the Attorney General.”
Boever’s cousin, Nick Nemec, who has served as a family spokesman, said he was “appalled” by these revelations.
“To me, it sounds like a case of hit-and-run, even though he called a cop,” Nemec told The Daily Beast. “The cop was incompetent or was in collusion, I don’t know which.”