UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: The attorney for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reached out to KELOLAND News to confirm that as a part of the plea deal, the careless driving charge was dropped. And because there will no longer be a jury trial, jail time for the AG is now off the table.
The attorney says he will enter Ravnsborg’s plea and accept sentencing on his behalf.
PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg will take a plea deal in a case where he faces three misdemeanor charges running over and killing pedestrian Joe Boever, Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore confirmed Wednesday.
Ravnsborg’s attorney Timothy Rensch of Rapid City wasn’t available Wednesday for comment.
Ravnsborg faces three second-class misdemeanor charges — improper lane change, careless driving and driving a motor vehicle while operating an electronic device — for the September 12, 2020, crash at the west edge of Highmore.
Boever was reportedly walking on the shoulder of US 14 that night when Ravnsborg’s red Taurus struck and killed him.
The no-contest pleas mark a 180-degree turn in Ravnsborg’s strategy. Last month, Ravnsborg’s attorney convinced Circuit Judge John Brown to review the victim’s mental-health records and determine whether any were relevant.
Ravnsborg’s attorney raised the possibility that Boever had committed suicide by jumping into the path of Ravnsborg’s car. But the judge later ruled Ravnsborg couldn’t use the records at trial.
Ravnsborg’s trial is set to start Thursday in Fort Pierre.
The Associated Press reports Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore says Ravnsborg will avoid a trial and take a plea deal for misdemeanor traffic charges. Moore declined to give further details of the arrangement. Moore said Wednesday that Ravnsborg will enter the plea Thursday.
Ravnsborg will not need to be present during Thursday’s court hearing to submit the plea deal. Additionally, the gag order will be lifted following the deal.
A national magazine first reported the change in plea. KELOLAND News contacted Vanity Fair reporter Tom Kludt regarding the story. Kludt responded, “Sorry, I can’t reveal my sources.”