November 27, 2020

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Man struck by South Dakota AG’s car died from vehicle impact, initial autopsy confirms

Preliminary autopsy results confirmed the man struck by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s car died of trauma from a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle, officials announced Tuesday.



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Ravnsborg said in a September statement that he called 911 and searched a ditch with Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek using a cell phone flashlight after he believed he hit a large animal around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 12. The two men missed the body of Joseph Boever, a 55-year-old man who was killed in the collision and found the next morning.

The state’s Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price said Tuesday that early autopsy results from Ramsey County Minnesota confirmed Boever died of trauma consistent with a pedestrian motor vehicle crash.

Ravnsborg called 911 on the evening of Sept. 12, but a blood sample wasn’t given to authorities until the next day at roughly 1:30 p.m, Price said.

The public safety secretary said that Ravnsborg’s blood alcohol content was 0, but also said the average body sheds .015 percent alcohol per hour. An individual with 0.08 percent blood alcohol content is considered to be driving under the influence, according to the state’s public safety website.

It would take about six hours to return to 0 blood alcohol content from the legal limit, based on the average given by Price, and Ravnsborg’s sample was taken about 15 hours after the accident.

Audio from the 911 call and a transcript were released on Tuesday, along with Ravnsborg’s toxicology results. In the audio, Ravnsborg identifies himself as the state attorney general and tells the dispatcher he hit “something.”

“It sure hit me,” Ravnsborg said in the call. “Smashed my windshield.”

“Oh no, OK,” the dispatcher responded. “Do you think it was a deer or something?”

“I have no idea,” Ravnsborg said.

Complete autopsy results on Boever are expected in the coming weeks. Boever’s cousin, Victor Nemec, previously told NBC News that he drove Boever home after his car hit the hay bale and last saw him alive around 9:30 p.m. on the night of the accident.

Boever returned to his truck later that night for an unknown reason, Nemec said.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that Ravnsborg is not on leave and is continuing his duties as the investigation into the accident continues. The governor and state attorney general have not had any contact since the investigation, Noem said.

Forensic reconstruction of the accident and the investigation into Boever’s death are still ongoing. No charges have been filed against Ravnsborg.

Ravnsborg’s office has previously said the incident was a “tragic accident” and that the AG is fully cooperating with investigators. Nemec in September expressed doubt over Ravnsborg’s account and the transparency of the probe into his cousin’s death, saying, “There is a clear difference between a human and a deer.”

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