Congressman charged in fatal crash

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by jimnyc, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    AP News

    FLANDREAU, S.D. - Rep. Bill Janklow, a political powerhouse in South Dakota for 30 years, was charged with second-degree manslaughter Friday in a fatal collision with a motorcyclist.

    Janklow also faces charges of failure to stop, speeding and misdemeanor reckless driving for the Aug. 16 crash that killed a 55-year-old farmer from Minnesota.


    Authorities say Janklow was doing 71 mph in his Cadillac when he ran a stop sign in eastern South Dakota, killing Randolph E. Scott, who was returning home from his former father-in-law's 80th birthday party.


    Janklow, who has a history of driving fast, told an investigator he saw the sign but was going too fast to stop.


    The manslaughter charge, which carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, throws Janklow's future into doubt and tarnishes a storied political career that includes four terms as governor and one as state attorney general.


    The 63-year-old Republican has an initial court appearance Tuesday — the same day Congress reconvenes after its August break.


    If a congressman is convicted of a felony, the U.S. House of Representatives ethics committee would automatically investigate.


    The committee's rules say representatives who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime that carries more than two years in prison cannot vote in the chamber until their record is cleared, or until re-elected.


    Prosecutor Bill Ellingson said in a news release that manslaughter charges in traffic accidents are warranted in cases where there is "a conscious and unjustifiable disregard of a substantial risk."


    Janklow can decide at his court appearance Tuesday if he wants a preliminary hearing and bond will also be set, Ellingson said.


    Janklow would not comment. His son, attorney Russell Janklow, said it would be inappropriate to talk about the case.


    "Any discussions that should and would be done will be done at the courthouse and that's the appropriate place for it," he said.


    Some political watchers believe the same rural intersection that took Scott's life also claimed Janklow's political career.


    "I think he was politically vulnerable before the accident. Since the accident, I think his political future has been sealed," said Jim Meader, an Augustana College government professor and polling expert.


    If Janklow were to resign, fellow Republican Gov. Mike Rounds would call a special election within three months to fill it.


    Regardless of his fate, Janklow will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most powerful politicians in South Dakota history. He served four years as state attorney general and 16 years as governor before being elected to the House last year.


    But Janklow's impressive political record was sometimes overshadowed by his erratic driving. An unapologetic speeder, Janklow received a dozen speeding tickets in a five-year period in the early 1990s, a time when he held no public office, records show.





    Janklow's spotty driving record in some ways defined the maverick image he developed as governor. He has always been known as a fighter — unafraid to take on Washington or state lawmakers who disagreed with his ideas. He is also credited with cutting property taxes and bringing several big businesses to South Dakota, and voters have always rewarded him at the polls.

    News of the charges brought a mixed reaction among voters who helped make him such a fixture in South Dakota politics.

    Meta Ibis of Sioux Falls said Friday that Janklow was a good governor but his career is ruined.

    "He needs to be stopped, but it's too bad it had to be that way," she said. "The guy was just nuts when it came to driving."

    Some were less gracious. Myrtle Funston of Sioux Falls said she doesn't want Janklow representing her.

    "He has been in trouble before and I think it's about time," she said. "It's too bad it takes something like that to stop him."

    Not everyone was ready to have Janklow's career come to an end.

    "He's innocent until proven guilty," said Bill Middagh of Sioux Falls. "He should not leave office unless he is convicted."

    The family of the victim — a Vietnam veteran, farmer, trucking business owner and volunteer firefighter — thanked the Highway Patrol for its investigation and Ellingson for considering charges.

    "Although no judge or jury can bring Randy back to us, we view the criminal charges filed today as both reasonable and appropriate," Scott's mother, Marcella, said in a statement.
     
  2. janeeng
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    janeeng Guest

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    lock his ass up!!!!
     
  3. NightTrain
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    NightTrain VIP Member

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    Absolutely.

    Incidently, he's great friends with Tom Daschle & before this incident said he wouldn't run against Daschle because they were great friends. I read several news stories about Janklow's driving history. During his reign as The Guv, his ticket rate dropped dramatically, which is highly suspect when you consider how many tickets he got before and after his stay in office. It seems he thought he was above the law, much the same as Bill & Hill.
     
  4. Creek
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    More news on the jerk,than the poor fellow he killed.......he should resign.....and lose his licence for life...I bet he'd spped again...and it would be a slap in the face to that guys family.
     
  5. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    the piece of crap started a 100 day sentence for vehicular manslaughter this week....I do hope that some big Dakota Indian type person takes him for his bitch...:D
     
  6. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    How in God's name do you hit someone in South Dakota? I mean, what are the chances?
     
  7. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    tried to say he had a diabatic reaction...no one could back his claim....and you have a point..how the hell do you hit ANYTHING in south dakota....drop a piece of paper and its in Minn before you know it
     
  8. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    I feel sorry for the guy Janklow killed, and he should leave office, no doubt about it. I figure he never ran against Daschle because he knew he would lose.

    acludem
     
  9. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    100 days at club med is WEAK!!!!
     

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