Police interrogation videos reveal new details about a fatal vehicle-pedestrian accident involving Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.
Gov. Kristi Noem has asked Ravnsborg to resign, and the attorney general faces impeachment articles in the Legislature.
The state Department of Public Safety released the videos Tuesday evening that show investigators interrogating Ravnsborg twice for a total of about three hours. Investigators from North Dakota conducted the interviews.
Last September, Ravnsborg was driving home at night from a political event when his car struck and killed Joe Boever. Boever was walking on the shoulder of a highway near Highmore.
Throughout the interviews, Ravnsborg maintained he did not know what he hit until he returned to the scene the next morning and found the body. He says he assumed he had hit a deer.
The investigators told Ravnsborg that Boever’s face went through the windshield. They said Boever’s glasses were found inside Ravnsborg’s car.
“We know that his face came through your windshield,” one of the investigators says. “We know that. We already talked about that. That's, I would think, substantially clear that that's what happened. We also have the imprint on the hood where his body, part of his body, likely was riding. At some point time he rolls off, takes out the mirror and slides into the ditch.”
“I never saw him,” Ravnsborg responds.
“I want you to be really honest right now, Jason,” the investigator says.
Ravnsborg answers, “I am. I never saw him.”
Investigators told Ravnsborg that Boever’s body ended up lying only a couple of feet from the edge of the road. A flashlight Boever carried was still on, even when investigators found it later, they said. Ravnsborg repeated many times that he never saw the body that night.
Ravnsborg also denied being distracted by his smartphone. But the investigators showed him data indicating he was on his phone looking at news articles and blog posts until about a minute before the crash.
“So when we look at that, our concern is everything that we're seeing here is appearing that you were on your phone reading political stuff at the time,” one of the investigators says.
“But I just wasn't,” Ravnsborg replies. “I set it down.”
A spokesman for Ravnsborg said the attorney general does not intend to resign. Ravnsborg is charged with three misdemeanors: careless driving, driving out of his lane, and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone.
-Contact reporter Seth Tupper by email.