Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg breaks out the official stationery to publish his account of what he did when he killed Joe Boever on Highway 14 just west of Highmore Saturday night:
With regrets to Boever’s family and friends, I highlight key points of Ravnsborg’s description of the killing and the discovery of the body:
Ravnsborg apparently views “ongoing investigation” as a conditional excuse for silence: he refuses to answer questions from the media out of “respect” for the “process” and a his desire to let investigators do their work “without any interference or appearance of impropriety on my part.” Yet he feels arguing his case in public, without cross-examination, does not interfere with the investigation at all.
Ravnsborg says he had drunk no alcohol Saturday night.
Ravnsborg fudges his story a bit, saying now that he initially thought the man he hit was “a large animal (likely a deer)”.
Note also the grammatical distancing: Ravnsborg says, “My vehicle struck something….” Making the subject of that sentence “my vehicle” instead of “I” is like saying “My firearm shot something” or “My pen wrote something.”
Ravnsborg says he stopped, called 9-1-1 immediately, and investigated the scene with Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek. He and the sheriff saw no sign of the large animal they were looking for.
Ravnsborg reports his car was too damaged to drive safely. That level of damage suggests Ravnsborg was moving at a pretty good clip coming out of Highmore.
Ravnsborg says Sheriff Volek, who lives near the accident site, loaned him his personal vehicle to go back to Pierre. Ravnsborg brought the car back in the morning with his chief of staff and spokesman, Tim Bormann, to drive him back.
Ravnsborg says he and Bormann stopped at the accident site on the way to Sheriff Volek’s house. The debris from Ravnsborg’s car was still on the road. Ravnsborg and Bormann walked the shoulder and “discovered the body of Mr. Boever in the grass just off the roadway. My chief of staff and I checked and it was apparent that Mr. Boever was deceased.”
“Just off the roadway”—that’s a key detail. The victim was not thrown far away from the road into the beanfield. The grass in the ditch was not high: Boever had hit a hay bale in that ditch with his truck earlier Saturday; a KSFY photo also shows a bale in the ditch, indicating the ditch had been recently mowed. The body does not seem to have been hidden by vegetation.
Ravnsborg drove to Sheriff Volek’s house immediately to tell him they’d found a dead man. The Sheriff came back to the site with Ravnsborg and asked him to go back to Pierre.
An investigation suddenly graduates from car-deer accident to human fatality, and the sheriff on the scene tells the suspect apparently responsible for the death to leave the county?
Spokesman Tim Bormann tells the Rapid City Journal he didn’t know anything about the above statement, which Ravnsborg issued last night just after 10 p.m. Bormann says Ravnsborg is enlisting a new spokesman (because, sure, the Attorney General needs two spokespeople) RCJ’s Arielle Zionts reports that Ravnsborg’s new spokesmanification may be coming from Mike Deaver, who describes himself as a “friend of Jason’s,” lives in Salt Lake City, and is senior VP for the Utah office of Seattle-based PR firm Strategies 360. Evidently when things get real, South Dakota’s Republican leaders can’t rely on their usual in-state cronies; they have to call in the real talent from out of state.