South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg releases statement regarding fatal accident

The body of Joe Boever, 55, was found nearby the accident site the next morning.
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 10:41 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is sharing his first comments about the crash that claimed the life of a Highmore man.

In a statement released Monday night, Ravnsborg says he has not spoken before now because the matter is under investigation. But he decided to make a statement because of “many rumors and stories being told and reported which do not represent a full and factual account of what happened.”

Ravnsborg says he was attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner in Redfield. He said he did not consume any alcoholic beverages before, during or after the event.

On his way home to Pierre, Ravnsborg says he struck something with his vehicle outside of Highmore, which he believed was a large animal. He got out of his car to investigate. He also called 911 to report the accident. Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek responded.

Ravnsborg says it was evident that he hit something, but it was not clear what he hit. He used the flashlight feature on his cell phone to search the road and the ditch, but could not see anything. Sheriff Volek did a similar search and did not see anything.

“At no time did either of us suspect that I had been involved in an accident with a person,” Ravnsborg said in the statement.

Ravnsborg says his car was not driveable. Sheriff Volek called for a tow truck and offered Ravnsborg his personal car to drive home to Pierre. On his way back to Pierre, Ravnsborg says he called his chief of staff to tell him about the accident and that he had borrowed Sheriff Volek’s car. Ravnsborg says he arrived in Pierre around midnight.

Sunday morning, Ravnsborg and his chief of staff drove back to Highmore to return Sheriff Volek’s car. As they approached Highmore, the noticed the debris from the crash the night before. The two men stopped to see if they could see the animal Ravnsborg thought he hit.

“As I walked along the shoulder of the road I discovered the body of Mr. Boever in the grass just off the roadway,” Ravnsborg wrote. “My chief of staff and I checked and it was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased. I immediately drove to Sheriff Volek’s home to report the discovery and he accompanied me back to the scene.”

Ravnsborg says Sheriff Volek instructed him to return to Pierre and that he would handle the investigation.

Ravnsborg says he has been cooperating fully with the investigation. He agreed to a search of both of his cell phones and provided a blood draw. He also provided the names of people at the dinner who can confirm that he was not drinking alcohol at the event. He’s also sat down with agents investigating the matter.

“I’m deeply saddened by the tragic nature of these events and my heartfelt condolences go out to the Boever family,” Ravnsborg said.

The statement came in late Monday night and you can take a look at it below.

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