South Dakota AG Issued Speeding Ticket, $177 Fine Days Before Fatal Car Crash Trial

South Dakota's attorney general was issued a speeding ticket and a $177.50 fine for going 57 in a 35 mph zone last week, days before his trial for a fatal car crash last year.

Jason Ravnsborg received the ticket late Sunday in Hughes County, Dakota News Now first reported. He was charged with "Speeding on Other Roadways," which is a second-degree misdemeanor. Ravnsborg has not paid the fine for the ticket or admitted guilt.

Ravnsborg had accumulated eight traffic tickets over seven years, including six speeding tickets in different counties, prior to the fatal crash last year. He was not in danger of losing his license and had previously not received a ticket since taking office in 2019, the Associated Press reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Traffic Ticket
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg received a speeding ticket and a $177.50 fine just days before his trial for a fatal car crash last year. Ravnsborg had previously received eight traffic tickets over seven years. Getty Images

On Thursday, the Republican attorney general pleaded no contest to a pair of second-degree misdemeanors for a crash last year that killed a man walking on a rural highway. He avoided jail time but had to pay over $4,500 in fees.

Ravnsborg was not charged with speeding in the fatal crash. Prosecutors said he was going two miles over the 65 mph speed limit at the time of impact, but they decided that didn't justify a traffic charge. Instead, they charged him with making an illegal lane change, using a phone while driving and careless driving. Prosecutors dropped the charge of careless driving as part of the plea deal.

The attorney general's chief of staff, Tim Bormann, declined to comment on the ticket, saying it was a personal matter for Ravnsborg. Mike Deaver, who has been acting as Ravnsborg's spokesman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors said Ravnsborg was on his phone roughly one minute before last year's crash, but phone records showed it was locked at the moment of impact. Ravnsborg told investigators the last thing he remembered before the crash was turning off the radio and looking down at his speedometer.

Governor Kristi Noem has renewed pressure to force the attorney general from office, even as he has repeatedly defended his job performance. After the trial concluded last week, she said she would hand over the crash investigation file to the House speaker to consider impeachment charges.

Representative Will Mortensen, a freshman Republican legislator from Hughes County, had introduced impeachment proceedings in February. But impeachment quickly stalled in the House, and lawmakers said they would revisit the matter after the trial concluded. Mortensen said lawmakers were still considering whether to move forward with impeachment.

"I continue to be hopeful that the attorney general will step down," he said.

Jason Ravnsborg
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg will avoid a trial and take a plea deal for misdemeanor traffic charges in a crash last year in which he hit and killed a man who was walking along a rural highway, a prosecutor said Wednesday. In this February 23, 2014, file photo Ravnsborg speaks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Dirk Lammers, File/AP Photo