South Dakota’s attorney general, Jason Ravnsborg, reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night but actually killed a pedestrian whose body was not found until the next day, state investigators said on Monday.
Ravnsborg’s office has said he immediately called 911 after the accident on a rural stretch of US Highway 14 and did not realize he had hit a man until his body was found.
The department of public safety issued a statement on Monday that said only that Ravnsborg told the Hyde county sheriff’s office that he had hit a deer and did not say whether he reported the crash in a 911 call.
The man, who was identified as 55-year-old Joseph Boever, was not found until Sunday morning. He had crashed his truck in that area earlier, according to relatives, and was apparently walking near the road toward it.
The Republican governor, Kristi Noem, had revealed on Sunday that Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal crash and said the department of public safety was investigating, but neither she nor the agency had provided any details about what happened.
Ravnsborg issued a statement on Sunday saying he was “shocked and filled with sorrow” but also had not revealed details. His office said on Monday that he had not been drinking before the crash.
The department of public safety said its investigation was ongoing.
Ravnsborg was driving from a Republican fundraiser in Redfield to his home some 110 miles (177km) away in Pierre, his spokesman, Tim Bormann, said. Ravnsborg was uninjured.
Ravnsborg had been at a fundraising dinner hosted by the Spink County Republicans at Rooster’s Bar & Grill. The attorney general is known to be a frequent attendee of the fundraisers known as Lincoln Day Dinners, hosted by county GOP groups across the state.
Bormann said the attorney general drinks occasionally, but has made it a practice not to drink at the Lincoln Day events.
Ravnsborg has received six traffic tickets for speeding in South Dakota over the last six years. He also received tickets for a seatbelt violation and for driving a vehicle without a proper exhaust and muffler system.