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Crash Experts Cast Doubt on Ravnsborg’s Deer Story, Say Shoulder Skid Marks Indicate “Clear Negligence”

Joe Boever’s killer, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, had better hurry up and adopt Governor Kristi Noem’s disdain for the “elite class of so-called experts.” An expert in reconstructing car crashes says that Ravnsborg likely knew he hit a man, not a deer, as Ravnsborg has claimed:

Kurt Weiss is a mechanical engineer who has 34 years of experience in reconstructing hundreds of car accidents and is the owner of Case Study Collision Science, a California forensic research firm. Weiss is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction and has worked on cases for government agencies and clients in civil and criminal trials.

After viewing an image of the site where Ravnsborg hit and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever, reading articles about the incident and viewing a photo of Ravsnborg’s vehicle taken after the crash, Weiss said it is highly improbable that Ravnsborg would not have known he’d hit a man unless he was distracted and not looking at the road at the time of the collision.

“If he [Ravnsborg] is looking forward and had the headlights on, it would be easy to discern if it’s someone’s jeans and a flannel shirt versus a beige-colored deer,” Weiss told News Watch in an interview. “But if he’s looking down or to the left and he blasts something, you might not know what you hit. But how could he not; look at the hole in the windshield” [Bart Pfankuch, “Crash Experts Question Ravnsborg’s Car-Deer Explanation and Raise Concerns of Distracted Driving,” South Dakota News Watch, 2020.09.18]

And if Ravnsborg somehow didn’t see, either prior to impact or during the five seconds of screaming incoherence behind the wheel between impact and full stop, that he’d hit a man and not a deer, he and Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek could easily have seen evidence afterward of human impact on the damaged car:

Weiss further said that the broken windshield of Ravnsborg’s 2011 Ford Taurus would likely have contained clothing fibers, human skin or hair that could have indicated to Ravnsborg or Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek that Ravnsborg had hit a person and not a deer. Likewise, a deer likely would have left hair, hide or bone fragments in the broken windshield or on the front of the car to indicate an animal was struck.

“A jagged glass edge is going to catch some fibers, and for me, as an experienced reconstructionist, if you look at the glass edge, you know the difference between a human and a deer,” Weiss said. “It would be very apparent” [Pfankuch, 2020.09.18].

Pfankuch goes to the site of the crash and takes a photo to confirm Nick Nemec’s observation that the braking skid marks from Ravnsborg’s car begin in the eleven-foot-wide shoulder. Another crash expert says that fact could subject Ravnsborg to greater liability:

The second reconstruction expert interviewed by News Watch, John Desch of John Desch Associates of New Jersey, said that if the investigation reveals that Ravnsborg struck Boever on the road shoulder and not in the travel lane, then Ravnsborg would have more culpability in Boever’s death.

“That would be clear negligence on the part of the driver,” Desch said. “If a pedestrian is walking on the shoulder, there is some kind of reliance on their part that they’re in a safer area” [Pfankuch, 2020.09.18].

Austin Goss of KSFY/KOTA reports that investigators returned to the scene of the crime Thursday night, blocked off Highway 14 again, and appeared to try restaging the deadly movements of Ravnsborg’s vehicle in the dark.

With evidence and expert observations rendering his Thought I hit a deer story  untenable, perhaps Jason Ravnsborg needs to stop keeping South Dakota in the dark. Jason, you’ve had a week to get your head straight. It’s time to acknowledge that you’ve sped through your Bill Janklow fantasy, skipping the part where you become a bold four-term Governor and then win a seat in Congress, and racing straight to the closing act of your political career, in which you kill a man by driving recklessly. The people cannot have confidence in an Attorney General who kills a man and then spins unlikely stories to shield himself from accountability. Admit that to yourself, to the family and friends of the man you killed, and the people of South Dakota, and resign today.

*     *     *

Oh yeah, Pfankuch also reminds me of an October 2019 Tweet from Attorney General Ravnsborg showing how much he likes to play with his phone while driving:

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, tweet from behind the wheel, 2019.10.08.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, tweet from behind the wheel, 2019.10.08.


  1. 96Tears 2020-09-19 09:37

    He sure likes showing off that badge in the photo, right? Top law enforcement official for the State of South Dakota. Kind of an ego booster.

    Well, that’s all done. The evidence is overwhelming.

    Jason, stop wasting time and the public’s patience. Confess. Today. Judges are going to be far more lenient if you confess everything accurately and resign from office now while issue a deeply, heartfelt apology to Joe Boever’s family, to the Hyde County Sheriff’s office, to the SD Highway Patrol and the DCI, to the people who trusted you to serve as the state’s top law enforcement official and to all of the people of South Dakota for killing an innocent man and lying that you thought you hit a deer instead of Joe Boever. If not, they’ll throw the book at you and nobody, not even your dog, will respect you ever again.

    You didn’t betray their trust by killing Joe Boever. You betrayed their trust by jumping on a crazy train of lies.

    Tell the full truth. Beg forgiveness from your constituents and God. Step off the crazy train.

    With every hour you waste, Jason, you are only digging the hole deeper and making the pain for all concerned even worse.

    Do. The. Right. Thing.

  2. Buckobear 2020-09-19 10:51

    Bart Pfankuch -RCJ 19 Sep

    “ Another odd detail, Nick Nemec said, was that Ravnsborg returned to the scene the next day and found Boever’s body. Ravnsborg said in a statement issued Monday that as he and Bormann “approached Highmore, they noticed the debris from the crash the night before. The two men stopped to see if they could see the animal Ravnsborg thought he hit.”

    Ravnsborg said the pair then walked the highway and found Boever’s body in the ditch and then drove to Volek’s home to alert him. Nick Nemec said that seems a bit odd because Volek’s home is about half a mile west of the crash scene, meaning that Ravnsborg and Bormann drove past Volek’s house to return to the accident scene before returning the borrowed car.”
    … and we had the opportunity to elect a real AG.

  3. John 2020-09-19 11:07

    I think we have got to wait for the report and then who looks it over? The local SA?

    *A pair of black tire tracks are still clearly visible on the pavement in the westbound lane of U.S. 14 at the accident scene just outside of Highmore. The tire marks are heading off the roadway to the right; the right tire mark first appears on the paved shoulder of the road.

    This seems to tell me the AG was on the roadway when he struck Boever.

    *Desch said that if Boever was wearing dark clothing and walking in the traffic lane, it is possible that Ravnsborg could have struck him and not known that he hit a person and his culpability would be reduced.

    *Victor Nemec, likely the last person to spend time with Boever, said it is likely that Boever was walking on the roadway shoulder and was walking with traffic on the way to his stalled vehicle. Nemec said Boever was probably wearing a dark-colored coat and would not have had time from the last time Nemec saw him to have been to his truck and already walking facing traffic on the way back to his home when he was hit.

    This seems to indicate to me that Boever is in dark clothing and walking with traffic means that he has his back to the approaching vehicle and would lead me to an accident determination.

    I think it will take a while to get the report too…you know that everything will be triple checked at least.

  4. Steveo7654 2020-09-19 13:28

    Here is what is going to happen.
    The AG’s automobile will be transported to an out of state shredding or crushing facility.
    The coroners report will confirm Joe Boever is dead.
    The AG will pay yet another fine for speeding.
    As appeasement, the AG will pay a fine for careless driving.
    None of the investigation reports will ever be made public in their entirety.
    End of story.

  5. John 2020-09-19 14:15

    “Clear negligence” sayth crash experts. (At a minimum . . .)
    We await to see whether the state of South Dakota also practices continuing “clear negligence” with the crash investigation – as was apparently the cases with the Benda investigation, EB-5 malfeasances (where the feds said that South Dakota “was too corrupt” for further EB-5 participation), Mid-Central scandal, and, of course, the republicans getting rid of the independent ethics commission. What could go wrong?!

  6. grudznick 2020-09-19 15:32

    Young Mr. Ravnsborg was not suited to be the AG in the first place. grudznick is on record about this. I say they need to really tar this fellow up.

    I point out he says he filled the car with gas in Highmore before he found the poor fellow he ran down. That means he was driving west when he stopped to look in the ditch.

  7. Robin Friday 2020-09-19 15:51

    Can anyone see Randy Seiler doing anything like this? How very sad that SD continues to be such a one-party state that party is all that matters. How very sad for the Boever family and for the people of the “proud” state of South Dakota.

  8. Debbo 2020-09-19 16:25

    I wonder how hard Lederman and the SDGOP will work on the cover up for Ravsbutt? Is he one of the “boys,” or will they throw him under the bus as an expendable? He can’t really be that valuable. Can he?

  9. leslie 2020-09-19 16:32

    This is what happens in a one party state, or nation.

    A pleading in the Bergdahl case (filed today) reveals that the military judge, Jeffery Nance, was pursuing employment with the US Dept. of Justice while presiding over the case.

    Nance used the ruling in which he denied Bergdahl’s []motion as his writing sample in his job application. Thus, in his employment application to an executive branch agency headed by the President, Nance highlighted his writing ability by producing a motion in which he beat back a claim that the President had acted improperly.

    [I]n the case of the alleged USS Cole bomber [the same] conduct “cast an intolerable cloud of partiality” over the proceedings.’

    These norms mean nothing to Neal.

  10. John 2020-09-19 19:14

    Guess which AG is a presidential elector?

  11. T 2020-09-19 19:20

    “When you suffer the loss of a loved one due to someone’s carelessness, negligence, or intentional actions, your friends, relatives, or co-workers may encourage you to consider a wrongful death lawsuit claim.“
    Just saying …….
    This is good article CH

    Definitely carelessness at minimum.
    How deep is the carelessness?

  12. grudznick 2020-09-19 19:25

    Ms. Friday, as one of Mr. Seiler’s most staunch and vocal supporters, I have to tell you that no, he would not have done this. But we’ll never know.

    For those not in the know, Mr. Seiler was an accomplished individual, saner than most libbies, and far superior to what Mr. Ravnsborg slogged into the marsh with. Mr. Ravnsborg was not qualified to begin with, and overstated his warthog and sunglasses portfolio, while Mr. Seiler slogs on doing the people’s business.

    Of course, Mr. Seiler has soiled himself since then by running the perverted and corrupt Democratic Party of South Dakota, where Ms. Wismer’s audits hold no sway, but that is all a different story.

  13. jerry 2020-09-19 20:38

    Most times, the police will have the tow driver and others there, gather debris so it’s not left on the highway for other vehicles hit and cause more damage. From what I’ve seen, they also look to see if there are such things as clips or other items that came from the wreck to take back to the repair shop or their storage place. I wonder why the tow truck driver and everyone else around there, didn’t seem to do that. Was the tow truck driver a local from Highmore or did he come from someplace else?

  14. Kurt Evans 2020-09-19 20:42

    During the early 1990s, I was the drummer and then the bass guitarist in a band with my younger brother. My first engagement as the bass guitarist was a wedding dance at the King’s Inn in Pierre. I’m pretty sure it was during the summer of 1992.

    On our way home that night, I was driving the van, and the other band members were asleep. East of Pierre on Highway 34, about 25 miles southwest of the apparent site of Joe Boever’s death, something lunged into my lane of the highway moving right-to-left.

    As I swerved into the left lane, I realized that a person, now in the middle of the right lane, had sprung out of a crouched or seated position on the right shoulder and was jogging across the highway trying to wave me down. By the time my foot got to the brake, he was crossing the center line, and I was passing him in the left lane.

    After braking hard enough to wake the other band members, I shouted that I’d nearly killed a guy running across the road. We went back and found a man exhibiting signs of possible psychosis, frequently incoherent and frothing slightly at the mouth. We took him to Fort Thompson, waved down a police officer, explained what had happened, and left him there.

    If he’d remained still in the grass on the shoulder of the road, I might not have noticed him. If he’d lunged into my lane one second later, after he was out of the heart of my headlights, I might not have noticed him before he bounced off the front right corner of the van.

    The attorney general is probably tormented by the fact that he didn’t even see what he hit. When I’m transitioning from a 45-MPH speed zone to a 65-MPH speed zone, I normally look down at the speedometer. And if he didn’t see anything, it’s ridiculous to suggest antilock brakes left skid marks at the point of impact.

  15. grudznick 2020-09-19 21:17

    Frothing at the mouth, was he? That’s fearsome. grudznick, himself, has had many incoherent people leap out at me.

    We should not, without waiting until the results of the survey and study come forth, assume that anybody was frothing, leaping in front of cars, or psychotic. We all need to calm down and wait for the authorities who are the experts to do their jobs.

    The frothing and psychosis will haunt us in our beds tonight, regardless.

    Beers at Steerfish or Crow Peaking, Mr. Dale?

  16. Valerie 2020-09-19 21:27

    grudznick, I know Mr. Seiler personally and professionally and because of his admirable leadership, I switched from the Libertarian Party to the Democratic Party, which is neither perverted nor corrupt. Perversion is when you have 30 women claiming sexual assault and the perp can’t be prosecuted only because he has a corrupted US Attorney General to defend him . Corruption is your man in the WH’s middle name and unfortunately, psychological projection has trickled down to those followers and admirers of such deviancy. So sad!!!!
    P.S. Randy Seiler’s record is spotless AND he can tell the difference between a deer and a man.

  17. jerry 2020-09-19 22:31

    I don’t think and don’t remember highway 34 having much of a shoulder at that time or a rumble strip. As I recall from the look of things that if you heard a rumble it was probably cheatgrass and you might be in for a ride. I spent quite a lot of time there at that time, driving from Chamberlain to Fort Thomson and then to West Bend area as well. In the mid 80’s up until that time, the roads were not so good in that area. We used to go to the Kings Inn to have a meal (good chow in those days) and goof off much like the attorney general did in Redfield me thinks. Clint Roberts used to hang around there in those days as well and showed his horseman skills, good feller.

  18. 96Tears 2020-09-20 09:42

    Skidmarks don’t lie or spin information. They mark physical facts.

    A controlled study found average driver reaction brake time to be 2.3 seconds. Considering Ravsborg had been up driving for a political event until 1:30 a.m. the night before, I’ll say his reaction time on the city limits of Highmore, barreling west, would be 2 seconds.

    That’s the time he had when he saw he was going to hit something and jammed on the brakes.

    According to Nick Nemec’s estimation, the skidmarks ran at least 200 feet before the first blood smear. That would be the point of impact. So, let’s add on another 2 seconds to the time Ravsborg stared in shock at the object in front of his headlights that his car would clobber.

    We know that Joe Boever was in Jason Ravsborg line of sight for 4 seconds, and maybe a half-second more as his body was slammed into Ravsborg’s bumper, front right quarter panel, hood, passenger’s side window and roof before flying into pieces onto the edge of the highway.

    It left a very noticeable trail of spilled blood between the point of impact and where the corpse set in a flat, mowed ditch (grass was 8 inches tall).

    To assume Ravsborg couldn’t see Boever means his eyes were shut when his foot hit the brake petal or he turned his vision in a direction other than the object illuminated by his headlights.

    That’s an assumption that would be very difficult to believe. The most believable assumption is Ravsborg’s complete attention was on a man in front of his headlights for 4-plus seconds.

    You could argue that Bill Janklow running at excessive speed through a stop sign near Renner had a lot less time to avoid Randy Scott’s motorcycle running into the side of his car than Ravsborg had to avoid slamming into Mr. Boever.

  19. Kurt Evans 2020-09-20 16:02

    “jerry” writes:

    I don’t think and don’t remember highway 34 having much of a shoulder at that time or a rumble strip.

    That stretch of roadway was very narrow, even by 1992 standards.

    “96Tears” writes:

    … I’ll say [Ravnsborg’s] reaction time on the city limits of Highmore, barreling west, would be 2 seconds.

    How fast would you say he was “barreling”?

    According to Nick Nemec’s estimation, the skidmarks ran at least 200 feet before the first blood smear. That would be the point of impact.

    That would presumably be a point of impact with the surface of the roadway, not the initial point of impact with the vehicle.

    The most believable assumption is Ravsborg’s complete attention was on a man in front of his headlights for 4-plus seconds.

    At an average speed of 60 miles per hour, four seconds correlates to 352 feet. With typical high-beam headlights, it would be difficult to recognize an elephant in the center of one’s own driving lane at that distance.

    What exactly is the prevailing theory on the political left? Is it that Ravnsborg passed through the bright lights of the Highmore junction in such a drowsy or distracted state that even the rumble strip failed to snap him to attention? Or is it that he waited patiently for law enforcement to arrive knowing the dead or dying body of the man he’d struck was lying in the ditch a few feet away?

  20. mike from iowa 2020-09-20 16:23

    Try this, Kurt…. Ravnsborg was so afraid for his life he had to mash whatever was in front of him to save himself. Is this going to get sillier? A human being was killed and relatives demand answers. Just because the perp is a member of the favored political hierarchy shouldn’t get him a pass free of scrutiny.

  21. grudznick 2020-09-20 18:12

    No doubt the facts of the investigation shall be unveiled at the appropriate time. Just because Mr. Ravsnborg is funny looking or incompetent does not change the fact he has the same rights to due process as any other fellow does. In fact, he will be more scrutinized than if some random Iowegian or any Wisconsonian were to have been involved in the same incident.

    grudznick’s thoughts are with the family of Mr. Boever.

  22. T 2020-09-20 18:50

    multiple skid marks, measure all of them and take the average.

    Step 2

    Convert the measurement to a decimal by dividing the number of inches by 12 and adding the result to the number of feet. For example, if the skid mark was 120 feet 6 inches, you would divide 6 by 12 to get 0.5 and then add 120 to get 120.5 feet.

    Step 3

    Estimate the drag factor of the road that you were traveling on. The drag factor represents how quickly a car slows down on a given surface. Asphalt roads usually range from 0.50 to 0.90, gravel from 0.40 to 0.80, ice form 0.10 to 0.25 and snow from 0.10 to 0.55. Usually skid tests will have to be performed after the accident to determine the exact drag factor.

    Step 4

    Determine the braking efficiency based on how many skid marks are left. If a car leaves four skid marks the breaking efficiency is 100 percent. For each front wheel that is not skidding, subtract 20 percent. For each rear wheel that does not leave a skid mark, subtract 30 percent.

    Calculate the skid speed by multiplying the drag factor times the braking efficiency times the skid distance times 30 and taking the square root of the result. For example, if the car skidded 120.5 feet on a road with a drag factor of 0.5 and left four skid marks, the car was going about 42.51 mph.

    Do we know if it’s front wheel all wheel skids?
    2011 drag time?
    So I would say, depending on equations you prefer we can also debate speed

  23. lora hubbel 2020-09-21 10:11

    Here is a quote from the article I may disagree with: “Victor Nemec left Boever’s house on Sept. 12 at about 9:30 p.m., so he doesn’t think Boever had enough time to have already walked to his truck and begun to return to his home when he was struck.”
    I would say he DID have enough time to be returning from retrieving something he left in the pickup. Say Nemec dropped him off and all of the sudden Boever realized that he left his phone in the pickup. He could not call anyone to tell them he was going back to the pickup to get his phone. But walking 4-5 miles per hour he could have easily gotten to his pickup, picked up his phone and started the return trip home. DOES ANYONE know where Boever’s phone is? Is it in the field someplace? Or in Ravnsborg car?

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