South Dakota AG Reported Hitting Deer, But Hit Man

by Jennifer Shea

While driving along a country highway, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever over the weekend. But Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office he had hit a deer.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances surrounding Boever’s death, the Associated Press reported. Governor Kristi Noem said she had asked the Department of Public Safety to look into the matter.

Roadside accident

Department of Public Safety spokesman Tony Mangan refused to say whether Ravnsborg had called 911 immediately after the accident. It remains under investigation.

Ravnsborg had been on his way back from a Republican fundraiser in his Ford Taurus on Saturday night. Boever had crashed his truck nearby and was walking along the highway toward it when Ravnsborg hit him, according to the Associated Press.

Ongoing investigation

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation is part of the state attorney general’s office, so it is not conducting an investigation. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation has joined the investigation instead.

Authorities found Boever’s body on Sunday morning, USA Today reported. It was by the side of the highway near Highmore, South Dakota.

Governor Noem announced the news at a press conference on Sunday night. She said the Department of Public Safety would be investigating but did not offer any details beyond that.

“I am shocked and filled with sorrow following the events of last night,” Ravnsborg said in a Sunday statement, according to CBS News. “As Governor Noem stated, I am fully cooperating with the investigation and I fully intend to continue do so moving forward. At this time I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.”

Boever’s family told the Associated Press they were frustrated with and suspicious of the ongoing investigation. 

“A human doesn’t look like a deer,” said Victor Nemec, the last person known to have seen Boever alive.