South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg fatally struck Joseph Boever with his vehicle in September 2020. File Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Public Safety
Aug. 26 (UPI) -- South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg took a plea deal Thursday in which he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges in exchange for no jail time associated with a fatal car crash last year.
Judge John Brown ordered Ravnsborg to pay $500 each for one count of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device and one count of misdemeanor lane driving. The judge also ordered him to pay more than $3,000 in court fees.
A third charge was dismissed as part of the deal.
Ravnsborg initially pleaded not guilty to the charges and faced up to 30 days in jail.
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.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem urged Ravnsborg to resign now that the case has concluded and said if he doesn't the state legislature should consider articles of impeachment against him.
"Like many South Dakotans, I am not only disappointed in how this process was handled by prosecutors, but outraged at the result of today's plea hearing and sentencing. Ravnsborg has not accepted responsibility for the death of Joseph Boever and did not even appear in court today to face the charges or the Boever family," she said.