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South Dakota attorney general reported hitting a deer, but man's body discovered the next morning

South Dakota attorney general reported hitting a deer, but man's body discovered the next morning

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RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota's attorney general reported hitting a deer Saturday night but actually hit and killed a man whose body wasn’t discovered until the next morning, the Department of Public Safety said Monday morning.

Gov. Kristi Noem said at a Sunday afternoon press conference in Sioux Falls that Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had been involved in a fatal crash around 10:30 p.m. Saturday near the East River town of Highmore. No other details were released. 

What follows is from the DPS news release: 

Ravnsborg, a 44-year-old from Pierre, was driving a sedan westbound on U.S. Highway 14 on Saturday night. He told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that around 10:30 p.m. he hit a deer a mile west of Highmore. 

The release does not say if Ravnsborg stopped to confirm that he hit a deer or inspect his vehicle for damage. It also doesn't say if Ravnsborg called 911, the non-emergency line or someone from the office. The Journal has requested audio recordings of this call and all other calls related to the crash.

The body Joe Boever, a 55-year-old from Highmore, was discovered the next morning. The release does not say where Boever was found and who found him.

All information is preliminary at this point and the Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.

South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which is part of the Attorney General’s Office, will not be investigating the crash in order to avoid the appearance or actual conflict of interest, spokesman Tim Bormann told the Journal.

Inspectors from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation — the equivalent of DCI — will be helping instead.

The attorney general had been driving home to Pierre after attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner in Redfield, Bormann said. The event was hosted at Rooster’s Bar and Grill from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to the website of the South Dakota GOP.

Ravnsborg was not hurt in the crash, Bormann said. 

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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