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State Lawmakers Pursuing Impeachment Against South Dakota AG Following Fatal Crash, Misdemeanor Charges

February 24, 2021

A South Dakota state lawmaker has filed articles of impeachment with bipartisan support against the South Dakota attorney general, who was charged with three misdemeanors this month after fatally striking a pedestrian on the highway with his car last fall.

Rep. Will Mortensen, a freshman Republican, submitted the two articles of impeachment to the Legislative Research Council against the Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on Tuesday, according to the Argus Leader. The charges will likely be announced on the floor Wednesday.

The first impeachment article is for “Acts Causing The Death Of Joseph Boever,” the 55-year-old man whom Ravnsborg hit with his car while driving home from a fundraiser last September. The first article of impeachment reads: 

On the evening of September 12, 2020, Jason Ravnsborg failed to operate his vehicle within its proper lane, crossed outside such lane, and struck pedestrian and Highmore, South Dakota resident Joseph Boever. Mr. Boever died from injuries sustained from the collision; and (2) Jason Ravnsborg has been charged by the Hyde County State’s Attorney with three separate crimes in connection with his driving on the night in question. The Attorney General having a special obligation to the People and the Laws of the State of South Dakota, Jason Ravnsborg must be removed from such office for his crimes or misdemeanors in office causing the death of Joseph Boever.

The second article of impeachment, for “Other Acts Following The Death Of Joseph Boever,” accuses Ravnsborg of engaging in “actions unbecoming” of the attorney general’s office “during his reporting of the collision and the resulting investigation.” The articles of impeachment were co-sponsored by both the Republican and Democratic leader in the House.

Ravnsborg has been charged with three misdemeanors stemming from the day of the accident, including one count of operating his car while using a cellphone, one count of failing to stay in his lane on the highway, and one count for careless driving. State authorities said Sunday that Ravnsborg wasn’t on his cell phone at the time of the accident, but was using his cell phone on that same drive. Authorities said he was not intoxicated. 

Back in September, Ravnsborg said in a statement that he had “struck something that I believed to be a large animal (likely a deer),” pulled over and called 911, and then inspected the scene. As The Daily Wire previously reported: 

Once the sheriff arrived, said Ravnsborg, neither of them suspected a person had been hit with the car. Because the attorney general’s car was undrivable, and a tow truck would have taken over an hour to arrive, the two went to the sheriff’s house and Ravnsborg borrowed the sheriff’s personal car to drive home.

The following morning, the state attorney general said, he was on his way to return the car, along with his chief of staff, when the two stopped by the site of the accident to see if they could find the animal he believed he had hit the preceding evening.

Instead, the two found the body of Joseph Boever, 55, a nearby resident of Highmore, South Dakota, in a ditch.

Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem also called on Ravnsborg to resign Monday. In a statement, a spokesperson for Ravnsborg said that the attorney general had no plans to do so.

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