01/28/04 — Justice: Judge puts the brakes on big-shot speed demon

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Justice: Judge puts the brakes on big-shot speed demon

Bill Janklow dominated South Dakota politics for 30 years. He served four terms as governor and then was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

He also was a menace on his state’s highways, stacking up speeding tickets and still being allowed to drive.

He had an excuse: “When I was governor, I drove fast — really fast. I had a lot of places to go and things to do.”

Apparently he had places to go and things to do that night last August when he ignored a stop sign and careened through an intersection.

Randy Scott, 55, a farmer, was killed when Janklow’s car crashed into his motorcycle.

Last week, Judge Rodney Steele put the brakes on Bill Janklow.

The former congressman was convicted of second degree manslaughter, speeding and running a stop sign.

Judge Steele sentenced him to 100 days in jail, fined him $5,400 and stipulated that he pay $50 a day for his “board” while in jail.

After his first 30 days of confinement, Janklow will be allowed to leave the jail for 10 hours a day — to perform community service tasks.

After he serves his time, he will be free on probation for three years. One of the conditions of his probation is that he will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle.

Janklow faces even more problems. The family of Randy Scott is suing him for “wrongful death.”

It is unfortunate that Mr. Scott had to die before Bill Janklow was removed from South Dakota’s highways. The “system” there obviously and repeatedly failed to protect the state’s citizens for decades.

But justice finally came to Bill Janklow, and the people of South Dakota are a bit safer — at least for the next three years.

Published in Editorials on January 28, 2004 11:02 AM