SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We are hearing for the first time from South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg in his own words about the crash that took the life of Joe Boever in September. Video recordings of interviews Ravnsborg did on two separate dates in September have been posted to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety’s website. In South Dakota, it is extremely rare for these kinds of interviews to be released to the public.
Ravnsborg was driving the car that struck and killed Boever on September 12. On September 14 and September 30, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agents interviewed Ravnsborg. The Hyde County deputy state’s attorney announced last week that she had charged Ravnsborg with three second-class misdemeanors. None of these directly resulted from Ravnsborg’s car hitting Boever. On Tuesday South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem called for Ravnsborg to resign, and a state legislator introduced a resolution including articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg.
“And then quite frankly, wham,” Ravnsborg said. “I hit, the incident happened. I never saw anything ’til the impact. I immediately jump out of the car and call 911 within seconds.”
During the first interview, Jason Ravnsborg told investigators what he remembered from the night of the crash.
“I’m thinking it’s a deer at this point, but I had, I did not see anything. I didn’t have a time to swerve or accelerate or decelerate or anything,” Ravnsborg said. “I didn’t see anything.”
Investigators asked a series of questions.
“Do you normally wear glasses or anything when you’re driving?” an agent said.
“No,” Ravnsborg said.
“Okay. Any, like cheaters or anything?” an agent said.
“No,” Ravnsborg said.
“Okay. We found a pair of broken glasses in your vehicle, but they weren’t sunglasses, they almost look like cheaters of some sort,” an agent said. “There was like a black-framed glass, part of them was laying on the front passenger floorboard, and part of them were laying in the back seat, broke in half. Do you know? I wish I had a picture of them.”
Glasses came up in the second interview 16 days later.
“They’re Joe’s glasses,” an agent said.
“I wondered about that,” Ravnsborg said.
“So that means his face came through your windshield,” an agent said.
“His glasses are right there, Jason. Those are Joe’s …. so the only way for them to get there is through the windshield,” an agent said.
Ravnsborg says he didn’t see the glasses until the agent showed them to him.
“His face was in your windshield, Jason. Think about that,” an agent said.
The attorney general maintained, though, he didn’t see Boever.
“I did not know it was a man until the next day,” Ravnsborg said. “No.”
“You think you had an idea it was something other than a deer, though,” an agent said.
“I just believed it was a deer.” Ravnsborg said. “I do.”
When they arrived at the crash scene the next day, investigators say they found a working flashlight next to Boever’s body which was still on. They told Ravnsborg the light was shining just inches from the road, and they didn’t know how he could have missed it. Ravnsborg repeatedly told investigators he was driving on the road, not the shoulder, and that he didn’t know that he’d hit a man until the next day.
On Tuesday, the private media spokesperson representing Ravnsborg contacted some media in South Dakota while House members discussed the articles of impeachment.
The statement reads:
“The Attorney General does not intend to resign. At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office. 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.”