The South Dakota House voted Tuesday to impeach state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg over a 2020 accident in which he struck and killed a pedestrian on a rural stretch of highway, reports Courthouse News Service. The 36-31 vote did not agree with a recommendation against impeachment from the House Select Committee on Investigations in a 6-2 party line vote. The issue now moves to the state Senate for trial, where a two-thirds majority is required for Ravnsborg’s removal. He is suspended from his duties pending the outcome of the trial.
Ravnsborg has remained in office since the collision despite calls for his resignation, including from Gov. Kristi Noem, a fellow Republican. The attorney general pleaded no contest to using a mobile electronic device while driving and failing to stay in his lane. Ravnsborg was driving home from a political fundraiser on the night he struck Joe Boever, who was walking along the shoulder of a highway. The attorney general has maintained he did not realize he struck a man until he returned to the scene the next day and found his body, according to The Associated Press. “No state has ever impeached an elected official for a traffic accident,” Ravnsborg said. “I could not resign then and cannot resign now because the incident did not impede my ability to perform the functions of attorney general ...Knowing Governor Noem could hand-select my replacement, I felt it appropriate to stay in office to maintain checks and balances within the state.”