South Dakota attorney general faces impeachment over fatal car accident

The Washington Examiner has reported that Republican South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was impeached on Tuesday.

The first time a state official has been impeached

The paper noted that this marks the first time that South Dakota’s legislature has ever attempted to remove an elected official. Ravnsborg will now face a trial in the state senate.

That attempt to remove him comes in response to a fatal 2020 car accident in which Ravnsborg ran over a pedestrian.

Dakota News Now reported last year that Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to making an illegal lane change and using a phone while driving, both of which are misdemeanor charges.

The news outlet noted that South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem was “outraged” over a subsequent plea agreement under which Ravnsborg was fined $500 for each charge and also ordered to cover the cost of securing his crime scene, an amount which totaled $3,000.

Dakota News Now explained that the state attorney general was driving to a political fundraiser on the evening of September 12, 2020, when he called 911 to say that he had struck something but was unsure of what.

Ravnsborg discovered the body of 55-year-old Joseph Boever the following morning upon returning to his vehicle. The state attorney general subsequently told investigators that he believed had run over a deer.

The state attorney general accuses lawmakers of setting “a dangerous precedent”

Ravnsborg released a statement that read, “First and foremost, I am very sorry Joe Boever lost his life in this accident. I am sorry to the entire family for the loss of their loved one.”

They have had to deal with the pain, anger, and sadness of this accident,” Ravnsborg continued, adding, “Joe’s death weighs heavily on me and always will.”

The Argus Leader reported that a special investigative committee recommended against impeaching Ravnsborg, a fact that he raised in a letter sent to state legislators on Monday.

“Your decision could overturn an election and set forth a dangerous precedent for all South Dakota elected officials,” the state attorney general declared.

“As such, I respectfully ask that you adopt the House Investigation Committees’ majority report and declare this matter complete and final and let the healing process continue.”

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