South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) called to report that he hit a deer with his vehicle Saturday night on his way home from a political event, but authorities say he actually struck and killed a man rather than an animal.
Ravnsborg says he is "shocked and filled with sorrow" about the discovery.
What are the details?
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety reported that Ravnsborg, 44, told the Hyde County Sheriff's Office that he hit a deer on U.S. Highway 14 with his Ford Taurus at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. The next morning, the body of Joseph Boever, 55, was discovered near the crash site. Boever had been fatally hit by a vehicle.
Boever's cousins told the Rapid City Journal that the man had crashed his own truck earlier on Saturday, and that he must have been returning to the vehicle on foot that night when he was hit.
Tim Bormann, a spokesman for Ravnsborg, said the crash occurred Saturday night while attorney general had been on his way home after attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner, which was held at Rooster's Bar and Grill from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Ravnsborg was not injured in the crash.
Bormann said that Ravnsborg "drinks lightly," but that the attorney general had not been drinking on the evening of the crash.
During a news conference Sunday afternoon, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) revealed that Ravnsborg had been involved in a fatal crash on Highway 14 near the town of Highmore, the Rapid City Journal noted.
What did the AG say?
In a statement released Sunday night, Ravnsborg said:
"I am shocked and filled with sorrow following the events of last night. As Governor Noem stated, I am fully cooperating with the investigation and I fully intend to continue to do so moving forward. At this time I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family."
According to CBS News, "Ravnsborg has received six traffic tickets for speeding in South Dakota over the last six years. He also received tickets for a seat belt violation and for driving a vehicle without a proper exhaust and muffler system."
USA Today reported:
Tony Mangan, spokesperson for the Highway Patrol, said at the direction of the governor, the Highway Patrol is leading the investigation. The attorney general's office said investigators from North Dakota are also in South Dakota and assisting in the crash investigation due to the conflict created by Ravnsborg's role overseeing the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.