South Dakota Attorney General to take plea deal in fatal crash

Jason Ravnsborg interviewed by police following fatal crash

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg will avoid a trial and take a plea deal for misdemeanor traffic charges in a crash last year in which he hit and killed a man who was walking along a rural highway, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, who is one of two prosecutors on the case, told The Associated Press that “there won’t be a trial and there will be a plea entered,” but he declined to discuss further details of the arrangement. The plea will be entered Thursday, when Ravnsborg’s trial was scheduled to begin, he said.

Moore said a judge’s order that bars state officials from disclosing details of the investigation prevented him from disclosing further details.

The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement officer, faced three misdemeanor charges that each carry sentences of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.

The widow of Joseph Boever, the man who was killed at age 55, has indicated that she plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the attorney general.

Ravnsborg, who was elected to his first term in 2018, initially told authorities that he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal while he was driving home to Pierre from a Republican fundraiser late on Sept. 12. He said he had searched the unlit area with a cellphone flashlight and didn’t realize he had killed a man until the next day when he returned to the scene on U.S. 14 near Highmore.

In videos released by Gov. Kristi Noem this year, criminal investigators confronted Ravnsborg with gruesome details of the crash, including that Boever’s eyeglasses were found inside Ravnsborg’s vehicle. At one point, they told him: “His face was in your windshield, Jason. Think about that.”

Ravnsborg seemed unsure in the videos about how he had swerved onto the shoulder, but detectives told him bone scrapings were found on the shoulder’s rumble strip.