Kristi Noem blasts South Dakota GOP for not impeaching attorney general over fatal accident

"He has lied throughout the investigation, tried to cover it up. That's not somebody that we want being the top cop," Noem said.

Updated: March 31, 2022 - 11:29pm

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South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said she strongly disagrees with the GOP-controlled state House committee that recommended against impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for a fatal car accident in 2020.

"I believe that he should be impeached or removed from his office since he doesn't have the common sense to do so himself," Noem told "Just the News - Not Noise" on Thursday.

The South Dakota panel on Monday stated that the Republican attorney general did not "commit an impeachable offense in his conduct surrounding the death of Joe Boever." The committee's minority said that he should be impeached for malfeasance surrounding the incident.

"The attorney general was distracted. He was on his phone, went off the road, into the side of the road, into the grass and hit a man that was walking and killed him," Noem told editor-in-chief John Solomon and co-host Amanda Head.

"My question is: Should he still be the top cop in the state based on the behaviors he took after that accident?" Noem said.

"He left the man in the ditch, did not come back until noon the next day. He has lied throughout the investigation, tried to cover it up. That's not somebody that we want being the top cop in the state of South Dakota," she said.

Ravnsborg was on his phone driving back from a political fundraiser when he hit Boever. He initially reported that he struck a deer. The attorney general returned to the rural highway the next day to discover the body.

Ravnsborg Has called the accident a terrible tragedy and pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor traffic offenses.

"All of our sheriffs have called for him to resign [or] support somebody else. Our state's attorneys overwhelmingly don't support him. [It's] very difficult for an attorney general to do their job with that kind of an environment," Noem said. 

The South Dakota House will vote April 12 on impeaching Ravnsborg, and the committee wrote in the final report, "It cautions Governor Noem and the executive branch from seeking to improperly influence members of the House of Representatives."

While Noem has been calling for Ravnsborg to leave his post, the attorney general opened an ethics investigation into Noem last September over possible misuse of power.