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Flandreau, S.D. — U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow appears to have had symptoms consistent with a diabetic reaction before the Aug. 16 crash that killed a motorcyclist, an expert on the disease testified Friday during the congressman's manslaughter trial.
Dr. Fred Lovrien of Sioux Falls, also a diabetic, said he examined Janklow after initially being skeptical about a proposed medical defense.
He said he concluded after examining him Oct. 27, reviewing his medical records and talking with him about his activities in the hours before the crash that it was possible Janklow had been suffering from low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia the day of the crash.
Janklow may not have felt the early symptoms because it was hot when he spoke at an event that morning and because he had had an angry exchange with a heckler, Lovrien said.
On Thursday, Sen. Tom Daschle was on the witness stand for about five minutes. He testified he saw Congressman Janklow on the day of the accident. The two shared a stage for about an hour at a veterans' event. Daschle testified he did not see Janklow eat or drink anything during that time. Daschle was subpoenaed to testify. The senator added that he and Janklow are friends and that he considers Janklow to be a truthful person.
A waitress at an Aberdeen restaurant testified Janklow ordered breakfast on the morning of the accident. But she said the congressman left before he was served because he was in a hurry. She also testified the food was prepared and Janklow did not ask to take it with him.
The jury also heard from an accident reconstruction expert, who testified that Janklow was not driving as fast as the Highway Patrol report estimated. The report said Janklow was driving 71 miles per hour in a 55 zone.
Robert O'Shea said he used evidence from the state and his own analysis to conclude Janklow was driving 63 or 64 miles per hour at the time of impact. O'Shea said he was able to download information taken from a data recorder in the car that's similar to an airplane's black box.
The state was not able to download the information because it couldn't obtain the correct connecter cable. O'Shea said that data also showed Janklow applied the breaks at the time of impact and that Janklow was not wearing a seat belt. O'Shea also said motorcyclist Randy Scott was traveling 65 miles per hour. That's faster than the Highway Patrol's estimate of 59 miles per hour.
The defense continues its case. Several physicians are on the witness list. After the defense rests both sides may call rebuttal witnesses. Then closing statements and the jury of nine women and four men get the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report