Janklow has been given four tickets since fatal crash in 2003The speeding ticket received by Bill Janklow in June was at least his fourth in four years within South Dakota since his probation ended for a fatal Moody County crash. The list of his arrests and court cases since 1989 is nine pages long.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
The speeding ticket received by Bill Janklow in June was at least his fourth in four years within South Dakota since his probation ended for a fatal Moody County crash.
Janklow, a four-term South Dakota governor who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003 after being convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of a Minnesota motorcyclist, was cited for speeding in June of this year as well as once in 2010 and twice in 2008.
In two of the four tickets, Janklow was cited for driving 80 mph in a 65 mph zone.
He was also cited for a minor accident when he collided with a parked vehicle, and was twice cited for failure to maintain financial responsibility. The citations for failure to maintain financial responsibility — not having proof of insurance — were dismissed, as was a parking ticket. The minor accident occurred in a Hy-Vee parking lot on Sept. 23, 2008, in Sioux Falls. Janklow was fined $53 and paid $51 in costs.
According to Unified Judicial System computer database records available back to 1989, Janklow had numerous other tickets, primarily for speeding, from 1989 until his fatal crash in 2003. The list of arrests and court cases is nine pages long.
The Daily Republic reported Saturday on the June ticket. The newspaper sought Janklow’s comment for that story but was unable to reach him.
Monday, Janklow spent six minutes on the phone with a Daily Republic reporter expressing his disapproval of the reporter’s choice to leave a voicemail seeking comment last week.
Janklow, who initially said he hadn’t checked his own voicemail “in 10 years,” later said he checked his voicemail “sometimes” but did not acknowledge receiving the voicemail left at 12:46 p.m. Friday at his Sioux Falls law office, on a voicemail box that included a greeting with Janklow’s voice.
“It’s not fair, even though you think it is and, of course, you get to be the judge on your own actions,” Janklow told The Daily Republic reporter Monday.
Janklow said he was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., from July 31 until Saturday and therefore was not at his law office when The Daily Republic called Friday. He also said that although the June citation stated he was driving a 2012 Mercedes at the time he was pulled over, he was actually driving a 2001 Mercedes.
“I talk to press people and I think they’ll tell you that I talk to them when they ask me questions, but I think instead of being a know-it-all like you are and know-it-all like I am, all you had to do was call at an appropriate time,” Janklow said. “I don’t have a history of avoiding press people, the ones I like and the ones I dislike.”
Three times, Janklow refused to answer questions or offer any comment on the speeding tickets and eventually hung up on the reporter.
Janklow did, however, speak with The Associated Press on Monday and said he was speeding in the southeastern part of the state in June to get to a hospital to say goodbye to a dying friend, and didn’t make it in time.
“I was speeding and shouldn’t have been,” he said. “I was trying to come back and say goodbye. I shouldn’t have done it (speed), but that’s what happened.”
Janklow said he drives tens of thousands of miles each year “in a state where you’ve got to go great distances to do stuff.”
“I drive so much. Do I get tickets? Yeah,” he told The Associated Press. “Do I try to get them? No.”
Janklow told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader he generally drives 80 mph on the interstate, figuring it’s a safe margin.
“I got picked up this time,” he said.
“Sometimes I do (speed), sometimes I don’t,” he told the Argus Leader. He said he’s also been ticketed in Minnesota and while driving to Texas.
Janklow’s public career started in 1974 when he was elected attorney general. He was elected governor in 1978 and 1982 and again in 1994 and 1998.
He was elected to the state’s lone House seat in 2002 but didn’t complete that term.
On Aug. 16, 2003, Janklow was driving a car in Moody County that collided with a motorcycle.
The motorcyclist, Randolph Scott, of Hardwick, Minn., was killed. Janklow admitted running a stop sign on a rural road but said a diabetic reaction caused the driving error and the fatal crash.
A jury convicted him of charges of second-degree manslaughter, reckless driving, speeding and failure to stop at a stop sign.
Janklow was placed on probation for three years, sentenced to 100 days in the Minnehaha County Jail, fined $5,750 and ordered to not drive a motor vehicle during the term of probation.
Circuit Court Judge Rodney Steele gave Janklow a suspended imposition of sentence for the second-degree manslaughter charge. That meant if he completed his probation, the felony conviction would be erased from his record, and indeed it does not appear on a list of arrests and convictions obtained Monday by The Daily Republic.
Janklow resigned from the House on Jan. 20, 2004. He is a partner in a Sioux Falls law firm, along with his son Russ and other lawyers.
Scott’s mother, Marcella, and Rodney Steele, the now-retired judge who presided over Janklow’s trial in 2003, both declined to comment on Janklow’s recent speeding ticket when contacted Monday by The Daily Republic.