As part of its investigation of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s killing of Joe Boever, South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers tested just how visible Joe Boever would have been walking along the north edge of Highway 14 west of Highmore at night with a lit flashlight in his hand. On the evening of September 24, twelve days after Ravnsborg’s fatal crash, Trooper John Berndt drove an exemplar vehicle with the same headlights as those on Ravnsborg’s red Ford Taurus. Another trooper dressed in clothing similar to what Boever was wearing when Ravnsborg hit him walked along the side of the highway. The second trooper carried Boever’s flashlight.
SDHP Sergeant Kevin R. Kinney reported the results:
On this evening, TRP Berndt completed the nighttime visibility testing by driving the exemplar vehicle past the crash location with someone walking on the shoulder of the road in similar clothing to MR Boever. TRP Berndt utilized the same brand and model of headlights in the exemplar vehicle along with high and low beam to test the visibility of a person walking on the shoulder of the road holding the flashlight found at the scene. The flashlight was held in different positions beings it is unknown how MR Boever was holding the light at the time of the collision. During this testing several other uninvolved vehicles traveling past the pedestrian applied their brakes and slowed down when they saw him on the edge of the roadway. One vehicle that passed the location went down the road and turned around to come back and assist the pedestrian. When this testing was complete, BCI and TRP Berndt placed the flashlight on the ground in the same location that it was laying to simulate what it would look like on the night of the crash. The light was easily visible from both sides of the roadway had one been looking in the area where the debris from the crash was left behind [SDHP Sgt. Kevin R. Kinney, “Supplemental Report: Jason Ravnsborg/Joseph Boever Fatal Pedestrian Crash on 09/12/2020,” p. 6; included in SDHP investigation file, released by Legislative Research Council 2022.03.30].
Not only the investigating officer but several civilian drivers completely unaware of the investigation apparently saw the man and the flashlight on the side of the road and hit their brakes. These results from an observant and helpful public indicate that Jason Ravnsborg, who did not hit his brakes before impact and who has sworn he didn’t see whom he hit even after Boever’s face and eyeglasses came through his windshield indicates that either Ravnsborg has much worse eyesight than most people or didn’t have his eyes on the road at all when he struck and killed Joe Boever.