South Dakota Attorney General Impeached Over Fatal 2020 Car Crash

The South Dakota House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over his actions before and after a fatal car crash in 2020 in which he initially told authorities he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal.

The final vote was 36 to 31. The case now moves to the State Senate for trial, which by law must take at least 20 days after the House vote. It takes a two-thirds majority in that chamber to convict on the impeachment charges.

“The House of Representatives voted, and I respect the process, but I look forward to the Senate trial where I believe I will be vindicated,” Ravnsborg said in a statement issued Tuesday evening.

“Today, the House of Representatives did the right thing for the people of South Dakota and for Joe Boever’s family,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem wrote on Twitter.

While he technically maintains the title of Attorney General, he is suspended until his fate is decided in the Senate.

Ravnsborg pleaded no contest last year to a pair of traffic misdemeanors in the crash, including making an illegal lane change. He has cast Joseph Boever’s death as a tragic accident.

He was ordered to pay $500 each for one count of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device and one count of misdemeanor lane driving, as well as $3,000 in court fees.

On Monday night, he sent lawmakers a pair of defiant letters urging them to vote against impeachment.

“In a few hours, your vote will set a precedent for years to come,” Ravnsborg said in the first of two letters sent Monday night and obtained by the Argus Leader. “No state has ever impeached an elected official for a traffic accident.”

Ravnsborg’s letter also accused Gov. Noem of interfering in the investigation and of supporting impeachment because of the attorney general’s investigations into her behavior.

 

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