- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow, speaking publicly for the first time since he was charged in a deadly crash, said he “couldn’t be sorrier” for the August accident that killed a motorcyclist.

The 64-year-old former governor talked about his own injuries from the crash, in which prosecutors said he ran a stop sign at 71 mph and collided with the motorcycle. He told reporters 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,” said Mr. Janklow, South Dakota Republican. “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.”

Asked if he would run for re-election next year, Mr. Janklow said: “I have no idea. There’s a time for everything.”

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

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

Mr. Janklow told reporters Monday he had spoken with Mr. 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.

Mr. Janklow also was injured 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.

Mr. Janklow said yesterday that he has some memory problems from the accident and still has headaches, but he that his speech had returned to normal and he was getting better.

His health affects his work somewhat, he said, but there’s no major legislation moving right now. Several times during the news conference, he mistakenly referred to Mr. Scott as Robertson.

If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Mr. Janklow could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He would not be allowed to vote in the House or take part in committee meetings, though those privileges would be returned if he was re-elected or the conviction was overturned.

Mr. 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.

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