The South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Tuesday released audio of the 911 call South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had made on the night of September 12 after he fatally struck a pedestrian named Joe Boever with his car.
According to the recording, Ravnsborg first introduced himself as the attorney general before informing the dispatcher, “I hit something.”
“It was in the middle of the road,” he said.
“I am not, but my car sure as hell is,” the attorney general responded when asked if he was injured, saying also that the “something” he’d collided with “sure hit me” and “smashed my windshield.”
“Do you think it was a deer or something?” the dispatcher asked.
“I have no idea,” Ravnsborg replied. “It could be. I mean, it was right in the roadway.”
The dispatcher then told the attorney general that she would send the sheriff his way.
Last month, the DPS released a statement saying that Ravnsborg had “told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had been involved in a car-deer crash” on the night of the incident as he was driving home from a GOP fundraiser.
Ravnsborg claimed in a statement of his own, released several days after the incident, that when Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek arrived at the scene, neither he nor Volek found any indication a person had been struck.
“At no time did either of us suspect that I had been involved in an accident with a person,” the attorney general said.
Ravnsborg claimed that he did not realize he had hit a pedestrian until the morning after the crash, when he allegedly returned to the scene with his chief of staff and found the body for the first time.
The DPS published the 911 call on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price held a press conference regarding the investigation into the incident.
Price told reporters that Ravnsborg’s blood alcohol content was zero, according to toxicology reports, although the tests were not taken until approximately 1:30 PM on the day after the collision.
The investigation is “still ongoing,” Price said.
When asked if Ravnsborg planned to step down, Noem stated that the decision to do so would be the attorney general’s “prerogative.”