FORT PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) – This is a day Joe Boever’s family has been waiting for since September. They wanted to face the man who hit and killed him, but Jason Ravnsborg did not appear in court. Instead, his attorney entered two “no contest” pleas on his behalf.
The judge sentenced Ravnsborg to no jail time, but he will have to do community service work.
On September 12, 2020, Jason Ravnsborg hit and killed Joe Boever just west of Highmore, on Highway 14.
Nearly a year later, Joe’s sister Jane spoke on behalf of the family today in court.
“We have waited 349 long days for this case to come to an end and this is not the end we hoped for or expected. Joe, our brother and son, died horrifically and was left behind carelessly not once, but twice,” Jane Boever said. “The first night he was killed, the second after the defendant returned to the scene the next day, our brother laid in the ditch for almost twelve hours, this is inexcusable.”
Joe’s wife Jenny also spoke to the court.
“Jason’s actions on the night of September 12 changed many lives,” Jenny Boever said. “It changed my life, my family’s lives, my children’s lives, my grandchildren’s lives, forever. His actions are incomprehensible, inexcusable and cannot be forgiven.”
Hyde County State’s Attorney Emily Sovell said she understood the court’s position on no jail time, and offered other options, including teaching young drivers about reckless driving and restitution.
“For the family of Joe Boever, my condolences sincerely go to them,” Sovell said. “I know that the recompense that they seek cannot be given in this court today. These are misdemeanor charges. We’re not going to undo the past, we can’t redo the past. I know they’re frustrated with the process and to all of them, I am very sorry for the loss that they have endured.”
Ravnsborg’s attorney, Tim Rensch, reminded the court that the case was not one of homicide or manslaughter, but rather two traffic violations.
“The simple fact of the matter is accidents happen,” Rensch said. “People die. It should not happen, nobody wants anybody to die. Jason Ravnsborg didn’t want this fella to die. Nobody wants any family to suffer the loss of someone they love.”
In addition to misdemeanor fines, Judge John Brown is requiring Ravnsborg to do a public service event every year for five years around the anniversary of the crash. Rensch says he plans to challenge that.
Following the hearing, Ravnsborg released a statement saying he is sorry Joe Boever lost his life and that he will continue fighting for the people of South Dakota.
Governor Kristi Noem also released a statement calling for Ravnsborg to step down.