Nov. 3 (UPI) — Officials in South Dakota said Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was “distracted” when he fatally struck a pedestrian with his car in September.
South Dakota Public Safety Secretary Craig Price made the announcement Monday during a press conference updating the public on his investigation into the Sept. 12 fatal car crash involving the state’s top prosecutor.
Price said evidence shows that Ravnsborg, 44, was distracted when he drove his car onto the north shoulder of Highway 14, striking Joseph Boever, 55, who was walking alongside the road with a light in his hand.
A preliminary autopsy released last month determined Boever’s death was the result of “traumatic injuries due to … a motor vehicle crash.”
The South Dakota crash report released Monday states that the specific distraction was still under investigation.
“The type or types of distraction are still under investigation, and I will not be able to provide further details on those at this time,” Price said.
Price said Ravnsborg was alone in the car at the time of the crash while a toxicology report of a blood sample Ravnsborg supplied the following day showed that no alcohol was in his system.
With much of the investigation completed, the case will be handed over to the state’s attorney, he said.
Ravnsborg said he called 911 following the crash, informing the dispatcher that he believed he may have hit a deer and was the one to find Boever’s body on inspecting the crash site the next day.
Charges could be filed against Ravnsborg depending on what caused him to be distracted, Price said during the press conference.
“There’s a lot of variables that come into the types of distraction and what is concretely against the law and what isn’t,” he said. “There’s distractions that are happening as we drive down the highway out our windows all the time that we’re taking a look at and most times those don’t have an impact on how we’re traveling down the road but sometimes they do.”
Asked if the new information changes her stance on whether to ask for Ravnsborg’s resignation, Gov. Kristi Noem said she will refrain from giving her opinions on the case until after the state’s attorney decides whether to file charges.
“She will be making those decisions with her team on what charges will be appropriate or not,” she said.