South Dakota attorney general impeached for fatal 2020 car crash

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem argued that Ravnsborg lied to investigators following the crash.

Updated: April 12, 2022 - 5:19pm

The South Dakota House voted Tuesday in favor of impeaching state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over a fatal 2020 car accident in which he was the driver.

The vote was 36-31.

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem argued throughout the process that Ravnsborg, also a Republican, lied to investigators. He initially told authorities he believed he struck a deer or different large animal.

The attorney general pleaded no contest last year in the accident case, saying that the death of Joseph Boever was a tragic accident. 

The South Dakota Highway Patrol ultimately concluded that Ravnborg's car crossed entirely onto the highway shoulder before hitting Boever where he was walking.

Criminal investigators would go on to say that they were having trouble believing some of Ravnsborg's statements. 

Ravnsborg will be at least temporarily removed from office, pending a state Senate trial, where a conviction will require a two-thirds majority vote.

"In a few hours, your vote will set a precedent for years to come," Ravnsborg wrote in a pair of letters sent to lawmakers Monday night. "No state has ever impeached an elected official for a traffic accident." 

He also accused Noem of interfering with the investigation and supporting the investigation because of a separate investigation by his office into the governor's behavior.