South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg says he only learned he'd killed a man when he came upon the body several hours after reporting a collision late Saturday. Joe Boever, 55, was struck and killed while walking along Highway 14 west of Highmore around 10:30pm. Ravnsborg, who was traveling back to Pierre from a fundraising dinner in Redfield, says he immediately called 911, believing he'd struck a deer. But "I didn’t see what I hit," he says in a statement issued late Monday, per the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. "All I could see were pieces of my vehicle laying on and around the roadway." He says he waited for Hyde County Sheriff Mike Volek to arrive, and both men fruitlessly searched the area. "At no time did either of us suspect that I had been involved in an accident with a person," he adds, noting he then drove home in the sheriff's personal vehicle.
He says he was returning the vehicle Sunday morning when he passed by the scene and went to search again. He says he and his chief of staff then found Boever's body in the ditch. He says he then went to the sheriff's house "to report the discovery and he accompanied me back to the scene." The South Dakota Department of Public Safety says an investigation was immediately launched. Ravnsborg says he's "cooperating fully," has agreed to a search of his cellphones, and has provided a blood sample. He says he didn't drink alcohol "before, during or after" the dinner. None of this has been verified by authorities, and Boever's family is at a loss. "A deer doesn't look like a human," cousin Victor Nemec tells the Rapid City Journal. The outlet reports Boever had crashed his vehicle into a ditch on Saturday. He was apparently returning to the vehicle on foot. (Read more South Dakota stories.)