South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) was impeached on a Tuesday 36-31vote by the state legislature for his involvement in a fatal crash. His impeachment trial will now move to the state Senate where a two-thirds majority will be needed to complete impeachment charges.

Ravnsborg was driving home on a rural highway and made an illegal lane change after leaving a Republican dinner in September 2020 when he hit a pedestrian. When he called 911, he reported that he thought he had hit a deer or a large animal, but upon returning the next day, found the body of Joseph Boever.

Last year, Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to two traffic misdemeanors. He did admit that he was distracted by reading a news article at the time of the accident.

The attorney general wrote a letter to the legislature ahead of the vote. In his letter, he called on the legislature to acquit him and reminded them of the gravity and precedent they would set if they impeached him for a traffic accident.

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“Setting such a low precedent will affect many members of the Legislature who have been convicted of Class 2 and Class 1 misdemeanors,” he wrote. “If this is the case, when will their impeachment or expulsion proceedings begin if that is the new standard? Who might be next to withstand impeachment whether based on the merits of a case or gubernatorial fiat?”

He also blamed South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) for supporting his impeachment because his office is currently probing her activities and the people around her.

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