South Dakota Senate convicts Ravnsborg in impeachment trial

South Dakota Attorney General (center) listens from the floor of the state Senate during his...
South Dakota Attorney General (center) listens from the floor of the state Senate during his impeachment trial at the Capitol on June 21, 2022.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:42 PM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - UPDATE, 5:25 p.m.: The South Dakota Senate has convicted Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg in an impeachment trial over a 2020 car crash in which he killed a pedestrian.

The conviction triggers immediate removal from office. A vote was pending on a second impeachment charge, as well as whether Ravnsborg should be barred from future office.

Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher the night of the crash that he might have struck a deer or other large animal, and has said he didn’t know he struck a man - 55-year-old Joseph Boever - until he returned to the scene the next morning. Criminal investigators said they didn’t believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements about it.

South Dakota senators have begun hearing evidence for the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, whose account of a fatal 2020 traffic accident led officials to question whether he should keep his title.

Ravnsborg faces the impeachment trial over his role in a fatal September 2020 crash where he struck and killed pedestrian Joe Boever near Highmore.

Scroll down for a livestream of the trial and the latest tweets from Statehouse Reporter Austin Goss.

Prosecutors began Tuesday by saying Ravnsborg knew he mislead investigators and used his position as Attorney General to his advantage in the aftermath of the crash.

Ravnsborg’s defense argued there has been no findings that he was criminally responsible for Boever’s death, and that impeachment is a tool rarely used anywhere in the U.S.

The proceedings are expected to take two days. Following opening statements, each side will also have four hours to present witness testimony, exhibits, and cross-examine witnesses.

Ravnsborg, who said he thought he struck a deer that night, has previously claimed that he was distracted by either the radio or the speedometer when he struck Boever, but South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers John Berndt and Sergeant Kevin Kinney speculated that he had to have been distracted by something else before Boever came through his windshield, and then rode on the hood of his car for over 100 feet.

Since Ravnsborg was elected Attorney General, he has received eight traffic warnings and video evidence shows him using his title to evade consequences. Through the investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol notes that Ravnsborg has been pulled over numerous times going back to 1996.

Ravnsborg has confirmed he will not seek reelection in November.

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