South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is under pressure to resign after he was charged last week with three misdemeanor counts in the accident that led to the death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever.
The calls for his resignation have ramped up in light of new evidence released Tuesday night, in which investigators say that they found Boever’s broken glasses in Ravnsborg’s car and that the victim’s face had come through the attorney general’s windshield. Ravnsborg struck and killed Boever on September 12. He initially told police he had hit a deer, but he discovered Boever’s body the following morning after returning to the scene of the collision.
In a two-part interview, a video recording of which was released by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, investigators question Ravnsborg about a pair of broken glasses found inside his vehicle.
“Do you normally wear glasses or anything when you’re driving?” one investigator asks Ravnsborg in the first interview, to which the attorney general says he does not.
After a brief back and forth over the type of glasses that Ravnsborg normally wears — sunglasses — the investigators move on to discuss other things.
In a follow-up interview, the same two investigators question the attorney general and discuss the broken glasses.
“They’re Joe’s glasses. So that means his face came through your windshield,” an investigator tells Ravnsborg, who lets out an obvious gasp and says, “I wondered about that.”
On Tuesday, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, issued a statement in response to the conclusion of the investigation, calling for the attorney general to step down.
“Now that the investigation has closed and charges have been filed, I believe the Attorney General should resign,” Noem said in the statement. “I have reviewed the material we are releasing, starting today, and I encourage others to review it as well.”
South Dakota state Rep. Will Mortenson, a Republican, filed articles of impeachment against Ravnsborg, saying that “following the collision, including during his reporting of the collision and the resulting investigation, Jason Ravnsborg undertook actions unbecoming the Attorney General.”
“The Attorney General does not intend to resign,” Ravnsborg spokesperson Mike Deaver said in a statement to CNN. “At no time has this issue impeded his ability to do the work of the office. Instead, he has handled some of the largest settlements and legislative issues the state has ever been through.” Deaver added that “as an attorney and a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves, AG Ravnsborg has fought for the rule of law and personal liberties and would hope that he is afforded the same right and courtesy.”
Ravnsborg has not yet responded to misdemeanor charges filed against him by the state attorney’s office and a court date has yet to be set, Deaver tells CNN.
Nick Nemec, Boever’s cousin, released a statement to CNN stating, “As a family we are very disappointed in the decision to charge Mr. Ravnsborg with only three misdemeanors, none for killing a man. I am convinced, despite his claims otherwise, he saw Joe in the moment before the crash.”
Last year, the state released a toxicology report stating that a blood sample given by Ravnsborg the day after the crash showed his blood alcohol content was 0%.
Officials also released last year the 911 call made by Ravnsborg the night of the crash in which he told dispatchers, “I hit something” that was in the middle of the road.
The dispatcher asked, “Are you injured at all, Jason?”
To which Ravnsborg responded, “I am not, but my car sure as hell is.”
Ravnsborg, a Republican, was elected South Dakota attorney general in 2018, according to his office’s website.