- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2003

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) — A man who was riding motorcycles with a friend killed in a crash involving Rep. Bill Janklow cried on the witness stand yesterday as he told jurors about seeing his friend’s lifeless body.

“I kneeled down to see if he had a pulse and he didn’t,” Terry Johnson of Luverne, Minn., said as he was shown photos of the body.

Mr. Janklow, 64, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, speeding, running a stop sign and reckless driving for his role in the Aug. 16 collision. Prosecutors say Mr. Janklow sped through the stop sign in a Cadillac and collided with a motorcycle, killing Randy Scott of Hardwick, Minn.

Another prosecution witness, Monica Collins, of Pipestone, Minn., testified that a car matching Mr. Janklow’s passed her car “like she was standing still” just a few miles before she came upon the accident.

“It was very sudden. Zoom, and it was gone,” said Miss Collins, who estimated her speed at 55 to 60 mph. “All I know is he was going a lot faster than I was going.”

Mr. Janklow’s attorney, Ed Evans, told the jury Monday that his client suffered a diabetic reaction and did not see the stop sign.

Another witness, Michael Jenkins, said an aide traveling with Mr. Janklow asked him for candy after the accident and told him Mr. Janklow was diabetic.

But deputy prosecutor Roger Ellyson said the evidence will show Mr. Janklow knowingly was speeding when he went through the stop sign. The aide with Mr. Janklow said there was no indication the congressman was having a diabetic reaction, according to Mr. Ellyson.

“Randy Scott was killed that Saturday afternoon as the result of Bill Janklow blowing through that blind intersection at approximately 71 mph,” Mr. Ellyson told jurors in opening statements. “All because of the reckless disregard. All because of that important person driving that important-looking Cadillac.”

If convicted of manslaughter, the maximum punishment is 10 years in prison. It would also prompt the House ethics panel to investigate.

The trial threatens to derail the career of a man who is one of South Dakota’s most powerful political figures. The blunt, tough-talking Republican served as attorney general for four years in the 1970s and another 16 years as governor before being elected to South Dakota’s lone House seat last year.

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