South Dakota AG Who Fatally Struck Man with His Car Charged with 3 Misdemeanors, but No Felonies

Jason Ravnsborg struck 55-year-old Joseph Boever with his car last September, thinking he had hit a deer

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Shutterstock

South Dakota's attorney general has been charged with three misdemeanors for a car accident last fall that left a pedestrian dead.

Jason Ravnsborg was charged with the misdemeanors of careless driving, operating a vehicle while using a mobile device and driving out of his lane, the Associated Press reported.

Ravnsborg could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for each charge if convicted.

Ravnsborg avoided felony charges for the Sept. 12, 2020, car accident, which resulted in the death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever.

Deputy Hyde County State's Attorney Emily Sovell said that there were not enough provable facts to warrant a stronger felony charge like vehicular manslaughter or homicide, NBC News reported.

"Recklessness is an extremely high burden for us to establish and in this case we don't have it," said Beadle County State's Attorney Michael Moore, who assisted in the case, the Argus Leader reported. "I don't feel good about it, but it's the right decision."

"There was a very, very thorough investigation conducted for every step that was taken by him in the hours preceding and nothing was indicative of him being under the influence of any alcohol or drugs," Sovell said.

The Hyde County state's attorney's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Ravnsborg's blood wasn't drawn until about 15 hours after the crash, but the toxicology report showed that he had no alcohol in his system, the AP reported. He also gave his electronic devices over to the investigation afterward.

Boever's body was found the morning after the accident, the South Dakota Highway Patrol said in a news release at the time, PEOPLE previously reported. Ravnsborg has said that he thought he had hit a deer on the rural Highway 14 around 10:30 p.m. the night of the crash.

Ravnsborg did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Thursday.

It is still possible that Ravnsborg will face a civil suit from Boever's family, who have expressed their disappointment in the AG's charges as well as frustration that it took five months for the charges to brought forth.

"I was afraid the charge would be something on the order of crossing the white line, and that's exactly what the charge was," said Boever's cousin, Nick Nemec, to the AP.

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