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SD Attorney General involved but uninjured in fatal East River crash

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Jason Ravnsborg

Jason Ravnsborg

The South Dakota Attorney General was involved but uninjured in a fatal Saturday night crash in Hyde County while driving home from a GOP dinner.

“The Attorney General was involved in a crash,” Gov. Kristi Noem said at an unscheduled Sunday afternoon press conference in Sioux Falls. “There was a fatality.”

“I am shocked and filled with sorrow following the events of last night,” Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said in a news release.

The crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 14 just west of Highmore, Noem said.

Noem and the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety did not share any details about the crash, such as information about the victim, whether charges are pending, how many vehicles were involved, whether alcohol was a factor, and what’s believed to have caused the crash.

Those details can’t be shared right now because they are still under investigation, DPS Spokesman Tony Mangan told the Journal. He said he expects that information to be shared in a Monday news release.

Ravnsborg called 911 and was uninjured after the crash, his spokesman Tim Bormann told the Journal. He said he couldn’t comment on any details of the crash.

The Attorney General was driving home to Pierre after attending the Spink County Lincoln Day Dinner in Redfield, Bormann said.

The event was hosted at Rooster’s Bar and Grill from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to the website of the South Dakota GOP

Bormann said Ravnsborg “drinks lightly” and he doesn’t think he was drinking at the event. 

Ravnsborg will continue his role as Attorney General but there is a policy for what would happen if the crash turns into a criminal investigation, Bormann said.

Inspectors from the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation — the equivalent of South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation, which is part of the Attorney General’s Office — will help investigate the crash in order to avoid any appearance or actual conflict of interest, Bormann said

Price and Highway Patrol — which is under DPS — will be leading the investigation, Mangan said. Noem said Price will report information directly to her.

“We will handle this as we would any other fatal crash,” Price said during the news conference.

“I am fully cooperating with the investigation and I fully intend to continue (to) do so moving forward,” Ravnsborg said in his release. “At this time I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family.”

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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