People have been watching this case for five months, waiting for answers. Here’s what happened on the night of September 12, 2020, when Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was driving on Highway 14 near Highmore.
9-1-1 call from September 12, 2020:
Dispatcher: 9-1-1: this is Ally. How can I help you?
Caller: Ally. This…well…Ally, I’m the Attorney General. And I am…I don’t know…I hit something.
Dispatcher: You hit something?
Caller: It sure hit me…smashed my windshield…
Dispatcher: Oh no. Okay, do you think it was a deer or something?
Caller: I have no idea…
Caller: Yeah…It could be…I mean…it was right in the roadway and…
LISTEN to the 9-1-1 call:
Ravnsborg’s car wasn’t safe to drive, so he borrowed a vehicle from the Hyde County Sheriff and drove home.
It wasn’t until the next morning that Ravnsborg says he returned to the same spot and discovered Joe Boever’s body in the ditch. That’s when investigators from three states were called in.
“South Dakota Highway Patrol will run the investigation and the Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price will oversee that and report directly to me,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said on September 13, 2020.
Authorities collected a sample of Ravnsborg’s blood around 1:30 p.m. on September 13th; a full 14 hours after the crash, which showed no alcohol in his system.
“There were questions about the delay in the blood draw. There was a very, very thorough investigation conducted for every step that was taken by him in the hours preceding and nothing was indicative of him being under the influence of any alcohol or drugs,” Hyde County Deputy State’s Attorney Emily Sovell said.
It wasn’t until Sunday evening that family members were asked to identify the body.
“Why did my husband lie in a ditch for 22 hours. Why were no alarms sounded off over here when the accident happened. I mean we have no answers yet. And right now I’m just raw and numb, I just lost the man of my life,” Joe’s wife Jennifer Boever said of September 14, 2020.
A crash report revealed, Ravnsborg was driving on the shoulder of the highway and was distracted. However, investigators now say he was not on his phone when he hit and killed Boever; although he had been previously.
All of the evidence was then turned over to prosecutors and Ravnsborg stayed on the job as South Dakota’s attorney general.
Questions remain over why it took until the next day to find Joe Boever’s body. Prosecutors say Ravnsborg walked around the scene of the crash immediately following impact.
“We know from the phone records that Ravnsborg walked the area of the accident. He actually walked by where Mr. Boever was and he was using his flashlight on his phone at the time. The Hyde County sheriff also walked the area, about 10:44 p.m,” Beadle County State’s Attorney, Michael Moore, said.
“Nothing indicated that anyone that went past that scene on the night in question had seen Mr. Boever’s body,” Hyde County State’s Attorney, Emily Sovell, said.