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South Dakota attorney general finally ousted over fatal hit-and-run crash

June 22, 2022 Updated Wed., June 22, 2022 at 8:57 p.m.

From left, Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg listen during a news conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Sept. 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C.   (Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS)
From left, Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg listen during a news conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Sept. 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C.  (Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Dave Goldiner New York Daily News

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was finally removed from office for the fatal 2020 hit-and-run crash that he blamed on a nonexistent “deer.”

The state Senate convicted the top law enforcement official after an impeachment trial over the crash that sounded like a scene straight out of the classic dark comedy movie “Fargo.”

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, the leader of the Republican-dominated chamber, said Ravnsborg brazenly lied about thinking he hit a deer, not a person.

“There’s no question that was a lie,” Schoenbeck said. “(He) ran down an innocent South Dakotan.”

Schoenbeck also rebuked Ravnsborg for refusing to explain “what the hell he was doing” the night of the crash, when he attended a fundraising dinner where alcohol was served.

“There’s a mic(rophone) right there, and that’s a damn short walk,” Schoenbeck said.

Ravnsborg was driving home from a political fundraiser after dark on Sept. 12, 2020, on a rural highway in central South Dakota when his car struck “something,” according to a transcript of his 911 call afterward. He told the dispatcher it might have been a deer or other large animal.

It was only the next day, when Ravnsborg returned to the scene, that officials discovered the body of Joe Boever, 55, who had been walking along the highway. By that time it was far too late to test him for DUI.

Boever’s eyeglasses were found inside the crushed windscreen of Ravnsborg’s car, casting doubt on the claim that he didn’t know he’d hit a person.

Ravnsborg was convicted of misdemeanors but was hit with fines and did not serve any jail time.

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