Bill Janklow cited for speeding, going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone in Clay CountyFormer Gov. Bill Janklow, convicted of manslaughter in 2003 after speeding through a stop sign, has a well-documented history of driving faster than the law allows.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
A former South Dakota governor and U.S. representative who drove a vehicle that collided with and killed a motorcyclist near Flandreau in 2003 was cited in June for driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone.
William “Bill” Janklow, 72, was cited on June 27 for speeding on a state highway, according to court documents. Janklow was driving a 2012 Mercedes on state Highway 46 in southeastern South Dakota at 11:56 a.m. when he was pulled over by a South Dakota Highway Patrol officer.
He paid a fine of $59 and court costs. The case was disposed of on July 25 in Clay County court.
A message left for Janklow at his Sioux Falls law office was not returned on Friday.
Janklow was a U.S. representative in August 2003 when the vehicle he was driving sped through a stop sign and collided with and killed Randy Scott, 55, of Hardwick, Minn. Janklow was convicted by a jury of manslaughter, a conviction that quickly led him to resign from Congress. He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison but received a 100-day jail sentence.
During the trial, Janklow’s defense lawyer said Janklow suffered a diabetic reaction that caused him to speed through a stop sign and collide with the motorcycle.
Court documents at the time said Janklow “acknowledged he saw the stop sign, was traveling at a speed in excess of the speed limit, was traveling too fast to stop at a stop sign and in entering the intersection described in the report, was struck by a motorcycle being operated by Randolph E. Scott.”
Janklow was the state attorney general for four years in the 1970s before serving 16 years as governor and being elected to the state’s lone House seat. During his four terms as governor, Janklow won over legions of voters in heavily conservative South Dakota with his tough-talking, maverick style.
Janklow has long been an unapologetic speeder, as witnessed during a 1999 speech to the Legislature.
“Bill Janklow speeds when he drives — shouldn’t, but he does,” Janklow said then. “When he gets the ticket he pays it, but if someone told me I was going to jail for two days for speeding, my driving habits would change.”
In one notorious instance, two reporters were riding with Janklow when he made a 99-mph mad dash, through heavy smoke, down a mountain highway in the Black Hills to escape a raging forest fire in 2002. Janklow had tried to go faster, but the computer in his sport utility vehicle kept the engine from going past 99 mph.
Janklow received 12 speeding tickets from 1990 to October 1994.
During his manslaughter trial, the jury was not allowed to hear about the tickets, but the prosecution was granted permission to present evidence of a close call at the same intersection where Scott died.
Janklow also said he has wished “a thousand times” that he would have eaten on Aug. 16 to counteract his diabetic symptoms. He told the prosecutor during the trial he does speed when he drives and he has run stop signs, but that he would not speed through a blind intersection on purpose.
The entire ordeal led to an outcry from Janklow’s detractors and others. Protestors attended Janklow’s court appearances and sentencing hearing.
— Some background information in this story is taken from Associated Press reports.