South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) was impeached by the state House on Tuesday over a 2020 car accident in which he killed a pedestrian.
The state House voted 36-31 to impeach Ravnsborg during a special session for the first time in the state’s history.
According to reports, Ravnsborg was driving home from a Republican dinner in September 2020 when he struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking on the highway’s shoulder.
Ravnsborg told a 911 dispatcher that he thought he struck a deer when he ran over 55-year-old Joseph Boever.
However, when he returned to the scene the next day, he discovered Boever’s dead body on the side of the road.
The Star Tribune reported:
The South Dakota House on Tuesday impeached state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over a 2020 fatal crash in which he initially told authorities he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal.
Ravnsborg will at least temporarily be removed from office pending the historic Senate trial, where it takes a two-thirds majority to convict on impeachment charges.
Ravnsborg pleaded no contest last year to a pair of traffic misdemeanors in the crash, including making an illegal lane change. He has cast Joseph Boever’s death as a tragic accident.
In its 36-31 vote, the House rejected the recommendation of a GOP-backed majority report from a special investigative committee and sided with Noem, who has argued that Ravnsborg lied to investigators. Democrats also had pushed for impeachment, arguing that he was not “forthcoming” to law enforcement officers and had abused the power of his office.
Ravnsborg, who took office in 2019, initially told aides and a 911 dispatcher he did not know what he hit on a rural highway as he was returning home from a Republican dinner in September 2020. He went back to the scene the next day and found the body of 55-year-old Boever, who had been walking on the highway’s shoulder.
The Highway Patrol concluded that Ravnsborg’s car crossed completely onto the highway shoulder before hitting Boever, and criminal investigators said later that they didn’t believe some of Ravnsborg’s statements.
Jason Ravnsborg has physically left the office according to a spox for the Attorney General.
Charlie McGuigan, Chief Deputy to the AG, will more or less take over the day to day operations for as long as Ravnsborg is not physically in the office.
— Austin Goss (@AustinGossSD) April 12, 2022
There will be a trial in the senate.
BREAKING: By the slimmest of margins, the South Dakota House of Representatives has impeached Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Resolution needed 36 votes, and it received 36 votes. Ravnsborg will now have a trial in the Senate. pic.twitter.com/JrCHphxYgR
— Dan Santella (@KELODanS) April 12, 2022