SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (AP) — Bill Janklow was on duty as South Dakota’s congressman when his speeding car collided with a motorcycle last summer, meaning federal taxpayers would pay any civil damages arising from the fatal crash, a prosecutor has concluded.
U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger’s decision came in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the former congressman and governor by the motorcyclist’s family.
In concluding that Janklow was on duty at the time of the accident, Heffelfinger filed a notice Monday asking that the case be moved from state to federal court, and the federal government be substituted as the defendant for Janklow.
Randy Scott, of Hardwick, Minnesota, was killed August 16 when his motorcycle struck the back of a car Janklow was driving. Janklow spoke earlier that day in Aberdeen and was returning to his home near Brandon when the accident happened.
Lawyer Ronald Meshbesher, who represents the Scott family, said he’ll try to keep the case in state court where, unlike federal court, the family could win punitive damages.
“I’m not sure what duty he was doing for the taxpayers of the United States or the state of South Dakota by driving 80 miles an hour through a stop sign,” Meshbesher said. “And quite frankly, if he was politicking before it happened I’m not sure that’s considered to be on duty.”
You’re kidding me, right?
Ah, isn’t it great that Republicans take personal responsibility so seriously!