The embattled South Dakota Attorney General has blood on his hands—in no small part because the “distracted” driver had his cell phone in hand a “minute” before he hit and killed Joseph Boever on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 14. What was Jason Ravnsborg distracted by on September 12, 2020? The Republican AG had been reading headlines on RealClearPolitics and Just the News about “some conspiracy,” as an investigator put it, involving Joe Biden and China.
Video shows Ravnsborg being grilled on Sept. 30 by Special Agents of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation about what he was doing in the minutes and seconds before the moment of deadly impact. Ravnsborg’s RealClearPolitics browsing history came up around the 56:00-mark of the interview. That moment is below.
Investigators walked through Ravnsborg’s phone activity minute by minute.
“At 10:20 [p.m.], you unlock your phone and sign in to your Yahoo mail account. And then signed out. At 10:20:49 you were on the Dakota Free Press site. These are on your work phone,” an officer said.
“Okay” and “mhmm,” Ravnsborg acknowledged.
“A minute later you were on the RealClearPolitics website. And then, about a minute later, um, this article was pulled up through the Just the News—which could have been something that, you were on this and it had a link to click to get you to this one. Regarding this, it’s an article about Joe Biden and something with China,” an investigator recounted. “You were on that at up to about, we’re going to estimate, probably a minute before the accident, you were on that. Do you remember any of these?”
“Well, I remember looking at it, but that’s when I set my phone down … prior to—yeah,” Ravnsborg responded.
Investigators believed there appeared to be a “problem here” and that it looked like Ravnsborg was taking in Joe Biden conspiracy theories at the moment he hit and killed Boever.
“When we look at that, our concern is, everything that we’re seeing here is appearing that you were on your phone reading political stuff at the time,” an investigator said.
“But I just wasn’t. I set it down. I know I did,” Ravnsborg said.
“Did you maybe set it down after the accident?” an investigator asked.
“No,” Ravnsborg immediately answered, “because I grabbed it and went out.”
“So when the impact happened that phone was sitting in the center console?” an investigator asked.
“Absolutely,” Ravnsborg said.
Ravnsborg repeatedly asserted that he did not think he was on his phone at the moment of impact. Investigators circled back to Ravnsborg’s internet use around the 1:04:00 mark of the interview, which you can watch in the video at the top of this story.
“I still believe I was not on my phone when the moment happened,” he said.
“But you agree that it could have been at that moment when you were putting it [the phone] down?” an investigator asked.
“I still believe I put the phone down and reached to shut the radio off. You know, now was that 10 sec—5 seconds, 20 seconds? I don’t know. But, you know, wham. It’s close relation I guess. But I was not doing it at the time of the impact. I set the phone down. I know I did,” Ravnsborg answered.
“Do you remember reading that article at all?” the investigator asked.
“No,” Ravnsborg said.
“It’s basically about Joe Biden. I looked at it as well,” the other investigator said.
“Okay,” Ravnsborg said.
“It’s about some conspiracy with Joe Biden in China,” authorities noted.
“I guess I would say I glance at headlines a lot. I don’t read articles while I’m driving,” Ravnsborg said.
The story goes that Ravnsborg clicked from RealClearPolitics to John Solomon’s Just the News website.
“I’ve never heard of Just the News,” Ravnsborg said.
The article Ravnsborg clicked through to, headlined “‘Riding the Dragon’ documentary alleges Biden family self-enrichment from China,” was about a BlazeTV documentary about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and China.
Ravnsborg said he didn’t remember reading the article at all.
“Like I said, I glance at headlines, at best,” Ravnsborg said.
Around 10:24 p.m., Ravnsborg called 911. He initially claimed that he thought he hit a deer. He did not.
The initial accident report said that the attorney general was not intoxicated but confirmed that he was “distracted” ahead of the crash.
“[Ravnsborg] was traveling westbound on US HWY 14. [Ravnsborg] was distracted. [Ravnsborg] entered the north shoulder while traveling westbound. [Boever] was walking on the north shoulder. [Boever] was struck by [Ravnsborg]. [Boever] was carrying a light. The exact time of crash is still under investigation,” the report stated. “The specific distraction is still under investigation.”
A blood sample wasn’t taken from Ravnsborg until 15 hours after the fatal crash. That sample turned up no alcohol in a toxicology report.
Ravnsborg, after his car was wrecked, drove home that night in a vehicle owned by the Hyde County Sheriff. Boever’s body was found the next day, when Ravnsborg returned to the scene in the vehicle he borrowed. Ravnsborg claimed this was when he realized for the first time that he killed a man.
At one point during the interview, investigators confronted Ravsnborg with the truth that Boever’s reading glasses were recovered from inside the attorney general’s vehicle.
“His face was in your windshield, Jason. Think about that,” an interrogator said. Ravnsborg denied knowing anything about the glasses found in his Ford Taurus.
Ravnsborg faces one count each of careless driving, operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device and a lane-changing violation. Each of those “Class 2” misdemeanors carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Those charges came down on Feb. 18.
Since then, momentum has grown among South Dakota in favor of Ravnsborg’s impeachment.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Image via YouTube screengrab]
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