South Dakota’s Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has reached a settlement agreement with the widow of the man he was convicted of hitting, and killing, on the night of Sept. 12, 2020, when the pedestrian was walking on the shoulder of a rural highway.
Sources confirmed that the two parties reached a settlement agreement roughly a month after Ravnsborg pled “no contest” to two misdemeanor charges stemming from the accident. The details of the settlement agreement have not been disclosed.
Matthew Tysdal, an attorney for Jenny Boever, and Mike Deaver, spokesperson for Ravnsborg, confirmed the settlement but would not reveal any terms.
After an investigation that stretched over five months, prosecutors suspected the attorney general did not conduct himself appropriately and ethically after the crash but claimed they were unable to file more serious criminal charges such as vehicular homicide or manslaughter, which could have meant years of prison time.
Prosecutors said Ravnsborg was on his phone roughly a minute before the crash, but phone records showed it was locked at the moment of impact. Ravnsborg’s phone records showed he was browsing political websites shortly before the time of the crash.
Ravnsborg told investigators that the last thing he remembered before impact was turning off the radio and looking at his speedometer.
Ravnsborg, who was elected to his first term in 2018, initially told authorities he believed he had struck a deer or another large animal as he drove home from a Republican Party fundraiser.
Ravnsborg later claimed that the man he killed was suicidal and may have thrown himself in front of the car.
He said he had searched the unlit area with a cellphone flashlight and didn’t realize he had killed a man —55-year-old Joseph Boever— until the next day when he returned to the crash scene on U.S. 14 near Highmore in South Dakota. Boever’s glasses were found in Ravnsborg’s car, meaning at least part of his face smashed through the windshield.
Boever’s widow, Jenny Boever, filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Ravnsborg for her late husband’s death.
Nick Nemec, a former Democratic state legislator who is a cousin of the man killed by Ravnsborg, said he isn’t convinced the latest investigation will bear any fruit.
“My gut on the Noem investigation tells me Ravnsborg is talking a good game, but I have my doubts that a Republican in South Dakota will do a real investigation of another Republican,” said Nemec.
Ravnsborg is set to face an impeachment hearing in the State Legislature starting on or around November 9th, as a result of his involvement in the accident. The state’s top law enforcement officer has received calls for his resignation from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and law enforcement groups.
Ravnsborg has signaled that he intends to run for reelection in 2022.