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Son acknowledges Janklow ran stop sign
A prosecutor says South Dakota Congressman Bill Janklow did not stop at a stop sign before his car was hit by a motorcycle. The motorcycle rider died in the Saturday crash in rural South Dakota. Janklow's son acknowledged Tuesday that his father's failure to obey a stop sign led to the fatal accident.

Sioux Falls, S.D. — In a written statement, Moody County State's Attorney William Ellingson said preliminary reports indicate Janklow did not stop at the stop sign.

Janklow's son, Russ, confirmed that his dad did run the stop sign. Russ Janklow says he believes his father was preoccupied and in a hurry. But, he says that's no excuse and should be held accountable.

"My dad's the person that -- if you've done something wrong or if you've made a mistake -- you stand up for it, you admit it and you be held accountable for it just like anybody else would be. My dad wouldn't have it any other way," says Russ Janklow.

A reconstruction of the accident will determine how fast Janklow was driving. Captain Jeff Talbot with the South Dakota Highway Patrol says it'll still be a few days before a complete case and reconstruction report of the accident is filed with the county prosecutor.

Janklow was heading south on County Highway 13. Randy Scott, 55, of Hardwick, Minnesota, was on a motorcycle traveling west on Highway 14. The motorcycle hit the passenger door on Janklow's 1995 Cadillac. Scott died at the scene. Janklow's car traveled 300 feet after impact.

I don't know how he's going to react to taking the innocent life of someone else. How can you? I don't know how you can have any training for that.
- Russ Janklow, about his father's accident

The Cadillac was equipped with a data recorder similar to an airplane's black box. Investigators are using the information to determine speed and whether the brakes were applied. Mechanics are inspecting the vehicles for any mechanical problems.

Russ Janklow says it wouldn't surprise him if his father was going above the posted 55 mph speed limit. The younger Janklow says his father is distraught and depressed over the accident.

"I don't know how he's going to react to taking the innocent life of someone else. How can you?" says Russ Janklow. "I don't know how you can have any training for that. My dad's a strong person, as most people know."

Janklow says his father has not gotten out of bed since Sunday. He says the family has received hundreds of phone calls from friends.

Bill Janklow served four terms as governor of South Dakota before being elected to Congress in 2000.

It's not uncommon for Janklow to comment about his driving habits. In his 1999 State of the State address, then-Gov. Janklow referred to his driving record as he promoted increased jail penalties for drug dealers.

"Bill Janklow speeds when he drives. He shouldn't, but he does. And when he gets a ticket, he pays it," Janklow said. "If someone told me I was going to jail for two days for speeding, my driving habits would change. I can pay the ticket but I don't want to go to jail. It's that simple."

Janklow had a dozen speeding tickets between 1990 and 1994, and the fines totaled more than $1,000. Janklow has not received a speeding ticket since Oct. 1994.

Under South Dakota law, accidents resulting in a death can result in a variety of charges. The most serious is vehicular homicide, which applies when alcohol is involved. Blood samples were taken from both Janklow and the the motorcyclist, and the results have not been released.

Second-degree manslaughter is possible when evidence suggests death was caused by recklessness.

The Moody County prosecutor says he'll decide on any charges after he receives the full accident report.

Funeral services for Randy Scott are scheduled for Wednesday morning in Hardwick.

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