It's far too early to make final conclusions about an alleged fatal accident involving South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and Joseph Boever in rural Hyde county. The incident is being investigated by the Department of Public Safety, the Hyde County Sheriff's Office and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Preliminary conclusions are that Ravnsborg was driving on the highway when he struck and killed Boever, who was walking along the roadway at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
We should wait for the investigation to be completed before we make final conclusions. But we should still discuss the seemingly frequent accidents and close calls between vehicles and pedestrians.
In recent weeks, there have been news reports of vehicles hitting pedestrians in Sioux Falls. We've read about vehicle-pedestrian accidents on Native American reservations. We've heard of close calls between vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the angry exchanges that have occurred afterward.
In many cases, we believe, both parties can share blame. Drivers may be texting, changing a radio station or otherwise distracted. There is no question that enforcement of distracted driving laws should continue to be a public safety priority.
And we've seen plenty of pedestrians walking on roadways when they shouldn't be, including those who are impaired by alcohol. Recently, we saw runners on the shoulder of Highway 81 north of Madison an hour before dawn.
We need to fix both sides of the equation. Drivers must be more attentive to what's ahead on the road, whether it's a person, animal or debris. Pedestrians shouldn't walk on highways or roads. If it's unavoidable, pedestrians should walk in the ditch, even though it would be more difficult.
And municipalities should continue to construct and maintain sidewalks throughout their jurisdictions. Madison's long-running sidewalk plan has certainly spared many people the heartbreak of a car-pedestrian accident.
-- Jon M. Hunter