On Saturday night, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported that he hit a deer, but the truth was he had hit and killed a man whose body was not found until the following morning.
“My cousin got run over by the attorney general,” Nick Nemec said on Monday about his now-deceased cousin Joe Boever.
“A deer doesn’t look like a human,” Nick’s brother, Victor, added.
The Nemec brothers say that their cousin was hit and killed by Ravnsborg as he was walking to his vehicle on Saturday.
On Sunday, Gov. Kristi Noem held a press conference Sioux Falls and stated that Ravnsborg had been involved in a fatal crash around 10:30 p.m. Saturday on U.S. Highway 14 near the East River town of Highmore. The governor gave no other details at that time.
According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Ravnsborg, 44, a Republican attorney general from Pierre, was driving a 2011 Ford Taurus westbound on the highway. At 10:30 p.m. he reported that he hit a deer a mile west of Highmore.
DPS spokesman Tony Mangan, a DPS spokesperson, stated that Ravnsborg contacted the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office, but exactly how he contacted the Sheriff’s Office is currently under investigation.
Officials are also looking into if Ravnsborg was driving a state vehicle and stopped to look for the deer or check for damage to his car is also being investigated.
“Most people when they hit a deer they stop and they call law enforcement,” Mangan said. “The majority of people get out of their car if they suspect their car was damaged.”
Victor says that a friend that lives near the crash site did not hear any sirens on Saturday night. Officials are looking into whether any law enforcement representative responded to the scene.
Boever, 55, was discovered dead Sunday morning. It is not clear who found him or exactly where he was found.
Mangan adds that all aspects of the crash are currently under investigation, including whether it could be a criminal hit-and-run.
“Alcohol and drug use is always checked” in crashes, Mangan said, but he couldn’t say if Ravnsborg had been tested yet.
Ravnsborg was driving home from Rooster’s Bar and Grill. Reportedly, Ravnsborg always drinks lightly and it is believed that he did not have a drink while at the establishment for a dinner.
Ravnsborg does have a history of speeding. He has pleaded guilty to six infractions before being elected.
The Nemec brothers say they were called to identify their cousin’s body around 7:30 p.m. They add that they are angry about how long it took officials to identify the body and they are concerned that officials will prevent the truth from being known.
“I believe the state is going to try to cover this up as much as they can. I don’t trust this state government,” Victor said. “This state is known for covering up wrongdoing of elected officials all the time.”
“We will handle this as we would any other fatal crash,” DPS Secretary Craig Price said on Sunday.
Boever had no children and was separated from his wife. His cousins say he “was quiet, quite the intellectual type of personality.”
He said Boever was most interested in philosophy and history.
“He was just a very soft-spoken individual” and spent most of his time helping at Victor’s farm, said Nick, who is a former Democratic state lawmaker.