South Dakota’s attorney general, who insisted he thought he'd struck a deer after fatally colliding with a pedestrian last year, had the victim’s glasses in his car, investigators said.
Jason Ravnsborg has been charged with a trio of misdemeanors for allegedly striking and killing 55-year-old Joseph Boever on Sept. 12.
Newly released video recordings of police interviews, however, reveal Boever's glasses were found on the passenger floorboard of Ravnsborg’s car.
“His face was in your windshield, Jason,” detectives told him during questioning. “Think about that.”
Investigators twice confronted him about the glasses during separate interviews in September.
“They’re Joe’s glasses,” an agent added, referring to Boever.
The state’s top prosecutor appears to stare at the ground and shake his head, the video shows.
“I did not see those glasses until you showed them to me,” Ravnsborg said.
The state’s attorney general initially told dispatchers he’d hit a deer after becoming distracted and veering off the road. He’d reportedly been driving home from a GOP fundraiser in Redfield, South Dakota. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
“I did not see him,” Ravnsborg stated. “I did not see anything. I did not know it was a human until the next day.”
Boever’s family, however, have previously accused Ravnsborg of lying about the fatal crash.
“He knew there was a dead man in that ditch,” Boever’s cousin, Nick Nemec, told the Washington Post. “He knew what he hit and he lied.”
Ravnsborg was charged with operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, careless driving and a lane driving violation following the months-long investigation, officials announced last week. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or up to a $500 fine.
Ravnsborg, elected to his first term in 2018, is now facing growing calls for his removal from office. State lawmakers introduced a resolution for his impeachment this week.
“When we started looking through and thinking about the duties that the attorney general owes to the people of South Dakota, and I think he owes a special duty to protect the people and uphold the laws,” Rep. Will Mortensen, who sponsored the impeachment resolution, said, according to NBC News. “And I think that the actions in these incidents fell short of that duty.”
“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign,” Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted. “I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.”
The embattled Republican’s spokesperson, however, indicated he has no plans to depart from office.
“As an attorney and a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves, AG Ravnsborg has fought for the rule of law and personal liberties and would hope that he is afforded the same right and courtesy,” a spokesperson for his office said in a statement, KABC-TV reported.
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