SIOUX FALLS — A smattering of details released by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety Tuesday shed some light on just what happened the night of Sept. 12, when South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg allegedly struck and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever of Highmore.
Gov. Kristi Noem and Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price provided an update on the investigation during a news conference Tuesday in Sioux Falls.
The 911 call Ravnsborg made the night of the crash as well as a toxicology report done on Ravnsborg the evening following the crash were made available on the state’s website at dps.sd.gov.
What we do know is that Ravnsborg was driving home from a GOP fundraiser in Redfield around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 12, when his Ford Taurus hit a large figure in the dark.
Ravnsborg told the 911 dispatcher that he believed he was near Highmore and he had hit something in the road.
“It was in the middle of the road…It sure hit me...smashed my windshield...,” he said.
The dispatcher then asked if he believed it was a deer or something.
“I have no idea. Yeah...It could be...I mean...it was right in the roadway and...,” Ravnsborg said.
Ravnsborg has said he had nothing to drink, and announced in public statement that he had had his blood drawn by investigators at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 — 15 hours after the crash.
The toxicology report released Tuesday shows no alcohol in Ravnsborg system when the test was taken.
Price was asked by a reporter at the news conference how long it takes for alcohol to dissipate from someone’s system.
“What you would find if you did research on that is that a normal body dissipates about .015% alcohol per hour,” he said.
Price announced that Boever’s cause of death, outlined in a preliminary autopsy report, was traumatic injuries due to a pedestrian/motor vehicle crash.
“Injuries were extensive both internally and externally,” Price said.
He said additional details would be included in the final autopsy report which may take several more weeks to complete.
“There are obviously a lot of questions involving the crash,” Noem said. That is why the called the news conference to answer a least some of the questions, she said.
Noem was asked if she requested Ravnsborg step down from his position and she said, “no.”
“I am in charge of overseeing this case, and that’s why I’m not prejudging the situation,” she said. “He is not at this time on administrative leave. I don’t oversee the attorney general’s office, that’s not my scope of accountability.”
Whether or not charges are filed is up to Emily Sovell, Hyde County deputy state’s attorney who is being assisted on the case by Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Crystal Johnson and Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore.
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