PIERRE, South Dakota—South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s lawyer entered not guilty pleas to three misdemeanors in a Pierre courtroom on Friday afternoon in connection with the September 2020 crash that left a man dead. Ravnsborg was not present in the Hughes County Courthouse; his lawyer, Timothy J. Rensch of Rapid City, entered the pleas during a brief hearing. Retired Sixth Circuit Judge John L. Brown, who is presiding, said the case would resume in mid-May and asked lawyers to check their schedules.
Ravnsborg ran over and killed Joe Boever on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 14 just west of Highmore on Sept. 12. He discovered Boever’s body the next morning on the shoulder of the road, and has insisted since then that he did not know what he struck while driving 67 mph. Ravnsborg has been charged with operating a vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, illegal lane change and careless driving. The maximum penalty for each is 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.
“It sounds like he’s going to request a jury trial,” said Nick Nemec, Boever’s cousin, who attended the brief hearing. “I don’t know about that. It seems like they have him dead to rights.” Nemec, who has served as the family spokesman, said Boever’s widow Jenny was present, along with his mother Dorothy Boever and other relatives. Scott Heidepriem, a former state legislator and the 2010 Democratic candidate for governor, was also present. He is one of two lawyers representing Jenny Boever in a planned civil suit against the attorney general.
Ravnsborg, 44, has declined to resign despite calls for him to do so from Gov. Kristi Noem and legislators.