Janklow holds press conference

Michelle Herrick

Michelle Herrick

South Dakota Congressman Bill Janklow said Monday that he has no plans to resign after he was involved in an accident that killed a Minnesota man.

“I think about my future all the time,” Janklow said. “If I were ineffective, I would quit today.”

This was Janklow’s first public statement since the Aug. 16 accident when Janklow failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with motorcyclist Randy Scott of Hardwick, Minn. Scott was thrown from the motorcycle and died instantly.

The highway patrol later determined that Janklow was going 71 mph in a 55 mph-zone on the road near Trent.

“I’m just learning to cope with the present, and I don’t know how to do that. I’m getting better at it,” he said.

During the press conference that lasted 50 minutes at the Sioux Falls Holiday Inn, Janklow refused to discuss the accident, but did apologize to the Scott family.

“You can’t prepare to deal with the enormity or with what other people are dealing with,” Janklow said.

Janklow is charged with second-degree manslaughter in addition to three misdemeanor charges.

He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday and Friday, but instead he will be formally charged Friday afternoon, according to an order filed Monday in Moody County.

The 64-year-old Republican continues to suffer from a head injury on the right side of his brain. Janklow said this has caused some memory loss, headaches, a temporary speech impediment and paralysis in his left leg.

Janklow says he will heal and that his injuries are minor in comparison to the pain of the Scott family.

“Saying I’m sorry to some people is rhetoric, ” Janklow said. “There’s no way that I know how to express the sadness and the sorrow and the grief that have been brought to Mr. Robertson’s family. Let me say I couldn’t be sorrier for what’s happened.”

The accident killed Randy Scott, and Janklow later apologized for getting Scott’s name wrong, saying he kept getting the name confused with Cliff Robertson and that ever since the accident he’s been a bit “foggy.”

The Scott family issued a statement saying they had hoped for more honesty from Janklow about the death of Randy Scott.

“All we can hope for from the legal system is fairness, and the eventual imposition of a consequence for a criminal act,” the Scott family wrote.

Janklow said his injuries would not impede his work in congress even though doctors say he will suffer from headaches for the next three or four months.

Janklow wouldn’t say if he plans to run for reelection.

“I have no idea,” he said. “There is a time and a place for everything. I want to be effective. I will make that announcement when it is appropriate.”

He stressed that he made a difference with his vote this week on various policies that were brought before the House.

“The Republican Party and the people of South Dakota have been very good to me,” Janklow said. “The people of South Dakota are a jury. They will wait to hear the facts before they make up their minds.”