PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he’s confident he didn’t commit a crime when he struck and killed a man as he drove along a dark highway in September.
It’s the first time Ravnsborg has talked publicly about the crash that killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever along Highway 14 near Highmore. He previously issued a statement.
An investigation into the fatality is ongoing. Investigators are working with the Hyde County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine whether charges are warranted.
“I believe I have not committed any crime. I believe that we will, when we have all the facts, not a selected amount of facts, we’ll know the full story and we’ll make a full statement,” he told reporters this week.
State Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price has said Ravnsborg was distracted when he drove onto a highway shoulder where he struck and killed Boever. Price did not describe what led Ravnsborg to become distracted.
Boever was walking on the side of the road and displaying some type of light on the night of Sept. 12 when Ravnsborg’s 2011 Ford Taurus hit him, Price said.
Ravnsborg called 911 that night and told a dispatcher that he hit “something” and that “it was in the middle of the road.” When the dispatcher asked if it could have been a deer, Ravnsborg initially said, “I have no idea” before adding, “It could be.”
Boever’s relatives believe he had been walking toward his truck that had crashed earlier that evening.
Ravnsborg found Boever’s body the next day when he was returning the Hyde County sheriff’s personal vehicle he had used Saturday night to finish the drive back to Pierre after the crash.
The attorney general was driving home from a Republican fundraiser some 110 miles (180 kilometers) away in Redfield. Ravnsborg said he had nothing to drink.
A toxicology report taken roughly 15 hours after the crash showed no alcohol in Ravnsborg’s system, although at least one expert said that would have been enough time for any alcohol to leave his body.
A crash reconstruction expert from Wyoming and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted the South Dakota Highway Patrol in the investigation.