SD attorney general pleads guilty to speeding, pays fines in fatal crash
The South Dakota attorney general resolved his two driving-related court cases last week when he paid fines resulting from his guilty and no-contest pleas.
Jason Ravnsborg was caught driving 22 mph over the speed limit Aug. 22 in Pierre, nearly a year after he accidentally hit and killed pedestrian Joe Boever on Sept. 12, 2020, near Highmore.
In the Boever case, the attorney general accepted a plea deal, pleaded no contest and was convicted of driving while on his phone and driving outside his lane. He paid $4,899.38 in fees and fines. A careless driving charge was dropped.
Ravnsborg also pleaded guilty and paid $177.50 in fines for the speeding charge.
Ravnsborg was driving 57 mph in a 35 mph zone in Pierre at dusk, according to his ticket and body camera footage of his traffic stop. He said he didn't have his license with him at the time.
Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie examined the case to see whether Ravnsborg should also be charged with careless driving or driving without a license.
She said Ravnsborg pleaded guilty before she had the chance to make a formal decision. But she said the circumstances don't equate to careless driving.
"It was light traffic and there were no pedestrians around, so therefore it would have been very difficult to prove the elements of careless even with his speed," LaMie said. "Had it been earlier in the day, 5 p.m., people getting off of work, high traffic, I think we'd be looking at a different case."
There is a crime in state law for driving without a license, but the law says people can't be convicted if they show proof of their license at a later date. LaMie said that's what happened in Ravnsborg's case.
This is Ravnsborg’s seventh speeding conviction in South Dakota since 2014. He has two more from Iowa.
Ravnsborg may face a wrongful death lawsuit from Joe Boever's widow now that the criminal case is wrapped up.
He's also facing calls to resign or be impeached.