North Dakota investigators: AG Ravnsborg untruthful about September 2020 crash

Two more law enforcement officers testified Wednesday that they believe Jason Ravnsborg was not being completely forthcoming about the September 2020 accident where he struck and killed Joe Boever outside of Highmore.
North Dakota Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) agents Arnie Rumel and Joe Arenz...
North Dakota Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) agents Arnie Rumel and Joe Arenz testified before the South Dakota State Legislature's "special committee on investigation" about the September 2020 crash involving Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, that resulted in the death of Joe Boever.(Austin Goss Dakota News Now/KOTA)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 9:49 PM MST
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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota “select committee on investigation” considering the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg heard again from law enforcement officers Wednesday about the investigation that transpired from the accident.

North Dakota Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) agents Arnie Rumel and Joe Arenz testified before committee members for several hours about the events that transpired following the accident.

The two agents were tasked with coordinating and conducting interviews with those involved in the investigation, and with putting together the initial crash report findings. The agents were the ones who conducted the two interviews with Ravnsborg in the months after the crash. The Governor’s office released those videos last February.

Rumel and Arenz also interviewed then Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek, who told them that he was able to see the flashlight Joe Boever was carrying the night he was struck and killed.

“He (Volek) had seen a light illuminating in the grass right off the roadway when he was out there, but then he just thought it was a part of Jason Ravnsborg’s vehicle that was still illuminating,” explained Arenz.

Both DCI officers told committee members that they felt like Ravnsborg was generally cooperative with the investigation, but he was not completely forthcoming.

They also speculated that if the same accident had occurred in North Dakota, Ravnsborg likely would have been charged with a felony.

“To both of you, do you believe that the Attorney General knew that he didn’t hit a deer, and that he hit a person?” Asked State Rep. Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls).

“His statements that he made, made me believe that,” answered Arenz.

The conversation did not solely focus on Ravnsborg and his actions, but also what led Joe Boever to be out that night as well.

The committee and investigators briefly went over sightings of Boever that night, and Boever’s prior struggles with mental illness, and his drug use history.

“Joe took medication for depression and anxiety, and talked about (with one of his cousins) that if he were ever to kill himself he would do so by throwing himself in front of a moving vehicle,” said Arenz.

The committee does not have a time or date set for when their next meeting will take place, or if it will take place in “executive session” like several previous meetings. There is also not currently a timeline as to when the committee intends to release more evidence, despite committing to do so at earlier points in time.

The committee’s conduct over the course of the last two days has drawn the ire of Governor Kristi Noem, who told the AP Wednesday that the committee was “attacking the integrity of our law enforcement officers.”

Noem’s remarks came after the committee grilled law enforcement officers Tuesday about the level of the Governor’s involvement with the investigation.

“The Governor’s former chief of staff was told on multiple occasions before this started that this was a House process, and they were not to intervene, interlude, or try to influence in anyway this process,” said Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham), chair of the committee. “Again, it is our responsibility to do this job, in the Constitution it says that this is a House process. We are going to continue to do the work that we see necessary. We always said that we were going to do the work and be fair, and I think that is what you have seen here over the last couple of days.”

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s spokesperson Mike Deaver did not respond to several requests for comment on the proceedings.

To watch the all of Wednesday’s committee proceedings, click here.

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