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South Dakota AG Jason Ravnsborg, who fatally struck man with car, charged with misdemeanors, no felonies

South Dakota’s high prosecutor will face misdemeanor charges — however prevented felony counts — for fatally striking a pedestrian in September, officers stated Thursday.

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was hit with three misdemeanors for working a motorcar whereas utilizing a cell gadget, driving outdoors a lane and careless driving, Emily Sovell, deputy Hyde County state’s lawyer, informed reporters.

Sovell stated there was no proof Ravnsborg was impaired and there was not sufficient proof to cost Ravnsborg with a extra critical offense, comparable to vehicular murder or manslaughter, for the demise of Joseph Boever, 55.

“It doesn’t surprise me one bit, but it does disappoint me,” Boever’s cousin Victor Nemec informed NBC News. “This state is well known nationwide for being lenient when it comes to elected officials getting in trouble.”

Sovell claimed she shielded her workplace and investigators from political affect and defined that underneath South Dakota’s narrowly outlined vehicular murder statute, an offender must be drunk or medicine.

While it took hours for a blood draw to be taken from Ravnsborg, the prosecutor stated she’s assured Ravnsborg wasn’t impaired.

“There was a very, very thorough investigation conducted for every step that was taken by him in the hours preceding and nothing was indicative of him being under the influence of any alcohol or drugs,” she stated.

Sovell stated manslaughter would not have utilized both, as a result of it might name for reckless habits that is “more than just a mere ordinary negligent standard” and “operation of a motor vehicle in violation of a law is not in of itself sufficient to constitute the recklessness required.”

Boever, who lived in Highmore, was carrying a light-weight whereas strolling on the facet of U.S. Highway 14 when Ravnsborg fatally struck him with his Ford 2011 Taurus on Sep. 12, in response to the crash report launched in early November.

The crash report stated Ravnsborg was “distracted” when he drove onto a freeway shoulder and Boever was not liable for any “contributing circumstances” within the deadly crash.

Earlier within the night time, Boever’s truck crashed right into a ditch off Highway 14, and Nemec drove his cousin residence. Boever apparently returned to that truck later to retrieve one thing and Nemec stated he is undecided why his cousin did not wait till the following morning.

Ravnsborg reported to the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had hit a deer and Boever’s physique was discovered the following day.

“It was a very dark night, this was in rural area,” Sovell stated. “It’s not well lit by any artificial means.”

The misdemeanors carry most penalties of 30 days in jail and a $500 nice.

While Ravnsborg is charged with being on the cellphone whereas driving, prosecutors clarified that his cellphone utilization got here nicely earlier than the deadly crash — and that his two units have been proven to be locked for not less than a minute earlier than the 67 mph affect.

Despite avoiding the extra critical felony costs, Ravnsborg might nonetheless be focused by Boever’s household in a lawsuit.

“This is a tragic accident which took the life of Mr. Boever way too soon,” Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore. “The victim’s remedy is in civil court, not criminal court.”

Ravnsborg’s chief of workers declined to make the prosecutor out there for touch upon Thursday.

“My heart goes out to Joseph Boever’s family,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in a statement. “I am not going to comment on the specifics of Ms. Sovell’s decision. I am directing the Department of Public Safety to share additional details of the investigation with the public within the next week.”

Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.

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