Investigators said Monday that South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was “distracted” before he fatally struck a pedestrian in September.
Joseph Boever, 55, of Highmore, was carrying a light while walking on the side of the road when Ravnsborg fatally struck him with his Ford 2011 Taurus on Sep. 12, according to the crash report released on Monday.
The crash report said Ravnsborg was “distracted” when he drove onto a highway shoulder, and that the cause of the distraction was “still under investigation.” According to the crash report, Boever was not responsible for any “contributing circumstances” in the fatal crash.
At a news conference on Monday, state Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price did not respond to questions about what the distraction was, the The Associated Press reported.
Gov. Kristi Noem said during the Monday conference that the Hyde County state attorney’s office has almost completed its investigation and will decide whether to file any charges in the crash.
Ravnsborg said in a September statement that he called 911 to report he had hit an animal and searched the collision site in the dark with Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek. The two men missed the body of Boever, who was killed in the collision and found the next morning.
Early in October, Price said initial autopsy results showed that Boever died of trauma consistent with a pedestrian motor vehicle crash.
Price said Ravnsborg’s blood-alcohol content was zero based on a blood sample that was taken almost 15 hours after the collision.
He added that the average body sheds .015 percent alcohol per hour. Based on Price’s average, it would take about six hours to return to zero blood alcohol content from the legal limit of 0.08.
Mike Deaver, a spokesperson for Ravnsborg, told Dakota News Now that the attorney general’s office appreciated the update from the state Department of Public Safety.
“There are still specifics to be answered, and today’s information update represents one more piece of the overall investigation. We look forward to the final report,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the family.”
Victor Nemec, Boever’s cousin, has previously expressed doubt over the transparency of the investigation.
“There is a clear difference between a human and a deer,” he said.