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S.D. Rep. 'Sorry' For Fatal Crash

Bill Janklow headshot, as South Dakota Governor
AP
Speaking to reporters for the first time since he was charged in a deadly traffic collision, Rep. Bill Janklow said Monday that he "couldn't be sorrier" for the August accident that killed a motorcyclist.

The 64-year-old former South Dakota governor talked about his own injuries from the crash, in which prosecutors said he was speeding, ran a stop sign and collided with the motorcycle. He said he thinks about his future but doesn't know yet what he'll do.

In the short run, he said, he would return to Washington later in the day to get back to work.

"I've been in public service since 1966," Janklow said. "I don't know what's appropriate at this point in time, candidly. And I do give it a lot of thought. There's things more important than politics to me."

Janklow is charged felony second-degree manslaughter and three misdemeanors for the Aug. 16 crash that killed Randy Scott, 55, of Hardwick, Minn. A prosecutor said Janklow was going 71 mph in a 55-mph zone and had just run a stop sign at a rural intersection when Scott's motorcycle hit the Cadillac Janklow was driving.

A hearing in the case is set for Thursday and Friday in Flandreau to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial.

Janklow told reporters Monday he had spoken with Scott's family but wouldn't discuss what was said and wouldn't talk about details of the case.

"I'm not going to go into it because all I do is cry when I do," he said.

Janklow, R-S.D., hurt his head and his right hand in the crash. His doctor said he suffered bleeding on the brain but had been cleared to travel, and he returned to Congress last week. His only other public appearance was an Aug. 29 court date.

The maximum punishment for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If Janklow is convicted of manslaughter, he would not be allowed to vote in the House or take part in committee meetings. Those privileges would be returned if he is re-elected or the conviction is overturned on appeal.

Janklow served as South Dakota's attorney general for four years and governor for 16 years before being elected to the state's lone House seat last year. His take-charge, straight-talking approach has made him enormously popular among South Dakota voters.