South Dakota AG had 2 close calls with police before crash

Apr 4, 2022, 12:03 AM | Updated: 12:09 pm
FILE - South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg speaks in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Feb. 23, 2014. ...

FILE - South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg speaks in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Feb. 23, 2014. A South Dakota House committee investigating whether the state's attorney general should be impeached for his conduct surrounding a 2020 fatal car crash is set to finish its work this week. House lawmakers are wrapping up a monthslong investigation that has splintered the state's Republicans over the fate of Ravnsborg. (AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File)

(AP Photo/Dirk Lammers, File)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s errant driving in 2020 twice caused police officers to hit their brakes to avoid collisions, records released by the state’s Highway Patrol showed Monday, but he just received warnings until he struck and killed a pedestrian on the shoulder of a highway.

The Highway Patrol’s scrutiny of the attorney general’s driving record is coming to light ahead of the state House meeting next week. Lawmakers will consider a majority report from a Republican-controlled impeachment investigation committee that recommended he not be impeached. However, Gov. Kristi Noem is pushing for Ravnsborg’s ouster, and the Highway Patrol is offering a public briefing for lawmakers on Wednesday.

The Highway Patrol records showed that a week before the Republican attorney general hit a man, Joseph Boever, walking on the shoulder of state Highway 14, he had been pulled over on the same highway for illegally pulling in front of a police car at an intersection in the city of Huron, roughly 70 miles from where the fatal accident happened. Ravnsborg displayed his badge identifying himself as the state’s top law enforcement officer and later told Huron police Officer Tanner Dornacher that he thought the intersection had a four-way stop sign.

Dornacher gave Ravnsborg a verbal warning. But he also noted in a written account roughly seven weeks later that Ravnsborg seemed unsure about the highway’s driving lanes, stopping his vehicle in a “weird” spot inside one of the lanes. Before driving away, Ravnsborg asked Dornacher if the highway had two lanes and whether he could drive in either of them. Dornacher told him he could.

As the attorney general has recounted the fatal crash to the public and criminal investigators, he has been unable to explain how his car came to hit Boever on the shoulder of Highway 14, in a spot where the highway narrows to a single driving lane in either direction.

Ravnsborg last year pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors in the crash, including making an illegal lane change. He has cast the crash as a tragic accident, insisting he did not realize he hit a man until he returned to the scene the next day and found his body. A spokesman for Ravnsborg did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his driving record.

Ravnsborg had also been issued a warning for making an improper lane change less than two months before the crash. Highway Patrol Trooper Nathan Moore wrote in an account of a July traffic stop that Ravnsborg drove out of his lane on a road in Sioux Falls, nearly causing a collision.

“I had to hit my brakes and swerve to avoid being struck by the SUV,” Moore stated in his account.

Ravnsborg racked up eight traffic stops, mostly for speeding, between taking office in 2019 and the crash, but had only been issued warnings. In five of those stops, Ravnsborg either identified himself as the attorney general or displayed his badge, the Highway Patrol found.

Those traffic stops came on top of a long history of driving violations. Ravnsborg had been pulled over more than 25 times, crash investigators found. However, he was in no danger of having his license suspended in South Dakota, where accumulated speeding tickets do not count against a driver’s record.

The attorney general’s driving record may also not matter much to lawmakers deciding whether to impeach him. The South Dakota House tasked the impeachment investigation committee with looking at Ravnsborg’s conduct specifically “surrounding” Boever’s death. Republicans on the committee last week all voted for a majority report that argued his actions in the crash did not rise to the level of impeachment because they were not done as part of his official duty as attorney general.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
23 hours ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
23 hours ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
2 days ago
Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
3 days ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Associated Press

Police: passenger pulled jet’s emergency slide before LAX to SEA flight

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was detained for triggering the plane’s emergency slide prior to takeoff, authorities said.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
South Dakota AG had 2 close calls with police before crash