Joseph Boever is the 55-year-old South Dakota pedestrian who was struck and killed by a car driven by the state’s Attorney General, Jason Ravnsborg.
According to Bloomberg, the Attorney General, a Republican, was driving to his Pierre home from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield at the time of the crash. Boever’s family, including a former Democratic politician, are raising questions about the accident. The victim is also known as Joe Boever.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ravnsborg Told Authorities He Struck a Deer, a News Release Says
The South Dakota Highway Patrol said the crash was a “pedestrian-vehicle crash” that occurred on U.S. Highway 14, one mile west of Highmore, South Dakota, at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2020.
The driver was identified as “Jason Ravnsborg, 44, Pierre, S.D., No Injuries.” He was driving a 2011 Ford Taurus. The pedestrian was identified as “Joseph Boever, 55, Highmore, S.D., Fatal Injuries.”
“A 2011 Ford Taurus was westbound on U.S. Highway 14. The driver, 44-year-old Jason Ravnsborg of Pierre, told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had been involved in a car-deer crash. The driver was not injured,” a press release said.
“The pedestrian’s body was discovered Sunday morning. He has been identified as 55-year-old Joseph Boever of Highmore. South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continue to investigate the crash. All information remains preliminary at this point. The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.”
2. Boever’s Cousin Says Boever Was Walking Down the Side of the Road When He Was Struck & Killed
Boever’s cousin Victor Nemec told the Argus Leader that he was planning to help fix Boever’s truck because it was damaged when Boever hit a hay bale. But Boever couldn’t be found.
“The attorney general hit my cousin as he was walking down the side of the road and killed him,” he said, adding that he thinks Boever was walking to the truck when he was struck and killed.
Ancestry.com records show Boever was married in 2017. According to Bloomberg, Boever lived alone and was separated from his wife.
3. Boever Is From a Family With Democratic Political Ties
Victor’s brother is a former Democratic state legislator. Nick Nemec, that cousin, said to Bloomberg, “I don’t know if cousin Joe was laying on the highway for 22 hours or if they had bagged him up before that.”
Nick Nemec told Dickinson Press, “A deer doesn’t look like a human. My cousin got run over by the Attorney General.”
Nick Nemec told Dickinson Press he was irritated by the AG’s apology.
“He offered his condolences to the family of the victim before they even knew who the victim was,” he said to the site. “I saw that statement sometime Sunday afternoon, at kind of the same time we were coming to the realization that the victim was our cousin, and he already offered a statement of condolences to the family, and he didn’t even know who the family was, because we hadn’t identified the body yet.”
4. The AG Has a History of Speeding Citations
Ravnsborg has a history of speeding, according to the Argus-Leader. The newspaper reported that the AG has been cited for speeding six times between 2014 and 2018.
He also has citations for seat belt violation and “driving without a proper exhaust and muffler system out of Yankton County,” the newspaper reported.
Authorities have not yet said whether they believe speed contributed to the fatal crash. According to Bloomberg, the Attorney General’s spokesman said the fundraising dinner was at Rooster’s Bar & Grill. The spokesman told the news site the AG “drinks occasionally” but “has made it a practice not to drink at the Lincoln Day events.”
State Sen. Brock Greenfield was there and told Bloomberg, “I didn’t see him with anything but a Coke.”
5. Ravnsborg Is a Combat Veteran Who Has Served as AG Since 2019
According to his website, Jason Ravnsborg was sworn in as the 31st Attorney General of South Dakota in 2019. “He serves as the chief law enforcement officer and legal advisor for the State,” the website says.
“Jason graduated from the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science as well as an Army commission through ROTC,” it adds. “Jason received his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota School of Law while simultaneously obtaining a Masters of Arts in History and also while serving as an editor of law review.”
He was a partner in a law firm and a deputy state’s attorney before becoming Attorney General. Ravnsborg is a combat veteran who served in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan, receiving the Bronze Star Medal. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
“Jason has had four company commands and currently serves as a battalion commander overseeing over 600 Soldiers in the four states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri,” the website says.