Gov. Noem calls on South Dakota AG to step down as he faces charges over fatal car accident

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) of South Dakota is calling on her embattled attorney general, also a Republican, to resign after he was charged in a fatal car crash.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has refused to step aside as he faces pressure and impeachment proceedings from his own party, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

A call to resign

According to a report from the Daily Mail, Ravnsborg was driving on a highway one night in September when he struck a 55-year-old man, Joseph Boever, who had been walking on the shoulder.

The attorney general called 911 to report that he had hit “something,” but did not know what. He later told the authorities he thought it was a deer, and that he was not aware he had killed a man until he returned the next day.

In the minutes prior to the crash, Ravnsborg was reportedly browsing the news on his phone while driving, although his phone was said to be locked a minute before, according to ABC News.

The attorney general was charged with three misdemeanors, including operating a vehicle while using a mobile or electronic device, a lane driving violation for driving outside of his lane, and careless driving. Gov. Noem called for his resignation Tuesday after reviewing the evidence.

“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign,” Noem tweeted, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.”

Refusing to step down

Boever’s reading glasses were inside Ravnsborg’s car. Authorities say that could only have happened if the victim’s face smashed through the windshield.

“His face was in your windshield, Jason,” an investigator told the AG, according to the Daily Mail. “Think about that.”

The graphic details were contained in videos of two interviews between Ravnsborg and authorities that Noem released Tuesday. The videos were later removed, and a judge prevented Noem from releasing more evidence Thursday after complaints from Ravnsborg’s lawyer, according to ABC.

Ravnsborg has refused to step down, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports, even as South Dakota Republicans launch impeachment proceedings against him.

“At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office,” said Mike Deaver, the attorney general’s private spokesman. “Instead, he has handled some of the largest settlements and legislative issues the state has ever been through.”

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