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South Dakota AG Ravnsborg pleads not guilty in fatal crash

South Dakota AG Ravnsborg pleads not guilty in fatal crash
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was charged with three misdemeanors including driving while using a mobile device after striking and killing a man with his car, pictured here, last September. File Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Public Safety

March 13 (UPI) -- South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges associated with a fatal crash in September.

His attorney, Tim Rensch, appeared in court on his behalf Friday.

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Ravnsborg faces charges of operating a vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, illegal lane change and careless driving. If convicted, each charges faces a maximum penalty of 30 days in county jail, a $500 fine or both.

On Sept. 12, Ravnsborg drove his car onto the north shoulder of Highway 14, striking Joseph Boever, 55, who was walking along the side of the road with a flashlight in his hand, police said.

An investigation in November found that Ravnsborg was "distracted" at the time of the crash but Beadle County State's Attorney Michael Moore said he was not a distracted driver at the time of impact.

Ravnsborg called 911 moments after he struck Boever, but said he didn't know what he had hit. He and Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who responded to the crash, said they didn't see Boever at the crash site that night.

Ravnsborg returned to the scene the next morning and said he found Boever's body.

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A status hearing is set to take place in the next 60 days.

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