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Noem Wants Ravnsborg Fatal Crash Investigation Released ASAP

Office of Governor Kristi Noem
Gov. Kristi Noem.

Highway Patrol investigators performed a blood draw and interviewed Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg following a fatal car-pedestrian crash.

They’re also searching both of Ravnsborg’s cell phones.

One car crash expert says the car will tell part of the story.

Department of Public Safety officials say Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was driving westbound on US Highway 14 in a 2011 Ford Taurus when he struck and killed Joseph Boever Saturday night. Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office he thought he hit a deer. Boever’s body was discovered the next morning.

In a page and a half statement sent out Monday night, Ravnsborg said his car was damaged too severely to safely drive.

The Highway Patrol is leading the investigation. The North Dakota bureau of Criminal Investigation interviewed Ravnsborg and other witnesses. An out-of-state crash reconstruction expert is being consulted to survey the damage.

David Hallman is a mechanical engineer from Minnesota. He specializes in accident reconstruction and is licensed in South Dakota.

Hallman says the event data recorder holds details leading up to the crash.
“You’ll get some pre-crash information,” Hallman says. “By pre-crash, I mean stuff that happened before the algorithm in the module woke up. Those are things that were going on prior to the crash.  Typically, it’s five seconds.”

According to a 2011 Ford Taurus owner’s manual. The event data recorder gathers such data as seatbelts, how far the accelerator or brake pedal is depressed, speed and position of the steering wheel.

Craig Price is the secretary for the Department of Public Safety.

“We do objective work,” Price says. “I think the process we are following—I’m confident the process we’re following will get the right people in the right places to do the right job. I have a ton of confidence in the work that they’re doing.”

Price says Governor Kristi Noem is ordering the release of the investigation as soon as it is complete.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.