5 Health Facilities Ordered to Turn Over Records of Man Struck, Killed by South Dakota AG

A judge ordered five South Dakota health facilities to turn over psychiatric and psychology records of a man who was struck and killed by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's car last year, the Associated Press reported.

Retired Circuit Court Judge John Brown's requests came after Ravnsborg's defense alleged that the death of Joe Boever, 55, was a potential suicide. Ravnsborg's car hit Boever on September 12, 2020, as he walked along Highway 14 near Highmore. Investigators said the attorney general became distracted and departed from his highway lane.

"The attorney general can throw anything he wants at the wall to try to prove his innocence," a cousin of Boever, Nick Nemec, previously said about the motion that Ravnsborg's attorneys filed. "The fact the attorney general is stigmatizing someone who may have been diagnosed with depression is troubling and insulting."

Ravnsborg is facing three misdemeanor charges as a result and maintains he thought he struck a deer and did not see Boever. A criminal trial, being overseen by Brown, is set to begin on August 26.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg
A judge ordered five South Dakota health facilities to turn over psychiatric and psychology records of a man who was struck and killed by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's car last year. Above, Ravnsborg, joined by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on September 9, 2019. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Boever walked along the highway with a flashlight on September 12. Ravnsborg faces misdemeanor charges of careless driving, use of an electronic device while driving and illegal lane change.

Earlier this month, Ravnsborg's attorneys filed a motion alleging that a pattern of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse by Boever that caused at least one family member, a cousin and brother of Nemec, to believe that a depressed Boever killed himself by jumping in front of Ravnsborg's car.

According to the Argus Leader, Brown ordered five healthcare facilities to turn over Boever's psychiatric and psychology records. Brown sent letters Tuesday to the Human Services Center, the state's public psychiatry hospital in Yankton, as well as Avera St. Mary's Hospital in Pierre, Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen, the Avera Medical Group and the Avera Medical Group Psychiatry.

All four of the Avera entities have filed claims against Boever's estate to receive payment for services they provided him. The claims to do not indicate what services were provided. Avera did not respond to the Argus Leader's request for comment.

Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek responded to the scene and let Ravnsborg drive his car home to Pierre. Ravnsborg said they didn't realize he hit and killed a person until he returned to the scene the next morning.

GOP Governor Kristi Noem, three law enforcement organizations and some legislators have called on Ravnsborg, a Republican, to resign.

Each charge against the attorney general carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail.

south dakota
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's car struck and killed Joe Boever, 55, on September 12, 2020, on Highway 14 near Highmore. Ravnsborg, who was allowed to drive the car home to the state capital of Pierre, faces three misdemeanor charges of careless driving, use of an electronic device while driving and illegal lane change. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)