According to a defence counsel for South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, the man who died after being hit by the official’s automobile last year may have committed suicide on purpose.
Rapid City defense attorney Tim Rensch filed a six-page motion Friday in the Sixth Circuit Magistrate Court requesting the release of Joe Boever’s psychiatric and psychological records relating to the deceased man’s “suicidal ideation.”
Boever died on the evening of Sept. 12, 2020, after being struck by Ravnsborg’s car on Highway 14, near Highmore, S.D. Prosecutors allege Ravnsborg had been on his phone while driving, but had put it down about a minute before the crash.
Rensch’s filing alleges Boever had a history of alcoholism and prescription drug use that contributed to a “broadening depressive streak” that at least one member of Boever’s family, cousin Barnabas Nemec, believes contributed to the man’s death.
“I believe with a very high degree of confidence Joe committed suicide by throwing himself into the path of a speeding car,” Nemec told law enforcement officials following the collision, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, a bottle of Lorazepem, an anti-anxiety medicine known to promote suicide thoughts, was discovered in Boever’s truck, and law enforcement authorities claimed there should have been “many more” tablets in the container than what was found.
Rensch is also arguing that evidence from the scene of the crash suggests Boever was struck while walking in the roadway, not on the shoulder of the highway, as is alleged by prosecutors.
Ravnsborg’s trial is set to begin on August 26. He has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanour counts of operating a vehicle while using a mobile or electronic device, driving outside of his lane, and reckless driving.