South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R), having been handed misdemeanor charges last week for fatally hitting a pedestrian with his car, could be staring down the barrel of impeachment by the overwhelmingly Republican state legislature.
South Dakota GOP leaders on Sunday confirmed talks of potentially impeaching Ravnsborg, who has refused to resign in wake of the incident, to the Argus Leader on Sunday.
The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
The Argus Leader noted that “misdemeanor in office” is grounds for impeachment in South Dakota. Additionally, Ravnsborg will not be able to carry out his official duties during the proceedings.
The attorney general would be kicked out of his post and banned from holding office again in the future if he is successfully impeached by the state’s House of Representatives with the required 70 votes and then convicted by two-thirds of the Senate in the subsequent impeachment trial.
On Thursday, state prosecutors announced during a press conference that Ravnsborg would be charged with three misdemeanors for careless driving, driving outside his lane and using a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle after he fatally struck a man named Joe Boever, who was walking on the shoulder of the highway, one night in September.
Ravnsborg hit Boever after leaving a Republican fundraising event, but claimed he did not know what he had struck until he returned to the scene the next morning and found the pedestrian’s body. Toxicology tests, which were taken more than more than 12 hours after the crash, did not show drugs or alcohol in Ravnsborg’s system.
Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore, one of the prosecutors who assisted in the investigation into the crash, told reporters on Thursday that “I don’t feel good about” the charges, “but it’s the right decision.”
Ravnsborg expressed gratitude over the prosecutors’ decision.
“I appreciate, more than ever, that the presumption of innocence placed within our legal system continues to work,” he said in a statement.
The official also said he “will continue to pray for Joe Boever and his family.”