Back in September 2020, 55-year-old Joseph Boever was struck and killed by a car being driven by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Boever was walking on the side of Highway 14 around 10:30 PM when Ravnsborg’s car drifted into the shoulder of the highway and hit Boever. Ravnsborg had been driving home from a Republican fundraiser and reportedly called 911 at the time, claiming to the dispatcher that he might have hit a deer. A sheriff’s deputy came out to quickly survey the attorney general’s car before giving him a ride home.
It wasn’t until the following morning, when Ravnsborg returned to the site, that he discovered Boever’s body. From there a long and drawn out investigation ended this past year with Ravnsborg pleading guilty to three misdemeanor charges, serving no time in jail, and paying out $5,000 in fines and court costs. At the time, Boever’s family said the results were “not the ending we hoped for.” This was in part because the investigation was opened up to the public by Ravnsborg’s Republican colleague, Gov. Kristi Noem. Noem has long been calling for Ravnsborg’s resignation, and the attorney general has been facing an impeachment inquiry.
On Wednesday, new evidence was leaked out by way of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price, A Noem appointee. Price sent a letter to South Dakota’s Republican Speaker Spencer Gosch that relitigated quite a bit of the evidence that was already known—and also added some information that was not public knowledge.
Related: What’s the cost of a deadly hit-and-run? For one South Dakota official, it’s $5,000 and no jail time
Related: South Dakota attorney general pleads to misdemeanor, avoids jail time for killing man with his car
Price tweeted out the letter he sent to make sure the public at large got an eyeful of Ravnsborg’s guilt and felt no doubt over his level of responsibility in Boever’s death. The letter, among other things, claimed that Ravnsborg “had been pulled over for traffic offenses eight times between taking office in 2019 and the fatal crash, including five in which he either identified himself as the attorney general or displayed a badge.” He was never ticketed during any of those stops. But before he had that position, he had received more than a half dozen tickets for speeding.
Also damning, according to Price’s letter, is a claim that Ravnsborg, his Division of Criminal Investigation director, and his chief of staff shared “disparaging and offensive statements regarding other law enforcement officers, judges, a supreme court justice, a legislator, prosecutors, staff members, a former Attorney General, and A United States Senator” by way of text messages. Also, maybe as a teaser, Price wrote about “Text messages that the investigation uncovered between the Attorney General and what appears to be a political consultant wherein the consultant indicated, referring to the deceased, “Well, at least the guy was a Democrat.” The message seems to have been sent just two days after Boever was killed.
Boever was a registered Democrat but his cousin, former state legislator Nick Nemec, told The Daily Beast he wasn’t an active political operative: “He was just a voter.” Nemec pointed out that the letter was further proof of the battle going on in the GOP with “far-right Republicans, regular Republicans and Democrats. And there’s just turmoil in Pierre right now.”
There has been ample evidence that Ravnsborg’s story has changed and and been shaky from the start:
- His insistence that he had no idea what he had hit was called into question as Boever’s glasses were discovered on Ravnsborg’s passenger seat, meaning his face had slammed so hard into the window that his glasses went flying into the car.
- Ravnsborg insisted he had not been looking at his phone any time near when he hit Boever, until investigators presented him with evidence that he was reading some kind of “sonspiracy” article about President Joe Biden and China right around the time he hit Boever with his car.
- Ravnsborg’s insistence that he never exceeds the speed limits by more than 4 MPH are clearly untrue.
- According to Craig, Ravnsborg contacted digital evidence expert Brent Gromer to pick his brain about what investigators may be able to find on his phone. The interaction leads Gromer to write up a report on the meeting, and Ravnsborg has to admit he has made contact with Gromer later on to investigators after having denied any such contact.
One thing Boever’s family could not have foreseen was that right-wing MAGA monster Noem’s ambitions to control her political party would potentially help them receive some justice in the form of political retribution against Ravnsborg.