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Janklow charged with second-degree manslaughter in crash

Rep. William Janklow, a Republican, is a former governor of South Dakota.
Rep. William Janklow, a Republican, is a former governor of South Dakota.

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South Dakota police are accusing U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow of running a stop sign in his Cadillac and killing a man riding a motorcycle.
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Bill Janklow
Ralph Nader
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(CNN) -- U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow was charged Friday with manslaughter in the second degree, a class-four felony in South Dakota, said a court official in Flandreau, South Dakota.

The Republican was charged in connection with the August 16 death of a motorcyclist at an intersection near Janklow's hometown, Flandreau.

The charges, which were filed Friday morning, also include one count of failing to stop at a stop sign, one count of driving "at least" 71 mph in a 55 mph zone and one count of reckless driving, said Karla Bjerke, clerk of the court in Moody County.

If convicted, Janklow could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in the state penitentiary and a $10,000 fine.

Janklow, 63, was at the wheel of the car involved in the weekend collision in eastern South Dakota that killed Randolph E. Scott, 53, of Hardwick, Minnesota.

The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday at an intersection of two rural county roads about 10 miles south of Janklow's hometown.

Ralph Nader and other consumer advocates this week called on Janklow to resign.

"There is no need to wait for prosecutors or civil suits by the next-of-kin to haul you into South Dakota's courts," Nader wrote in a letter to Janklow, a first-term congressman and former governor. "You should resign your congressional seat immediately in atonement for what was only going to be a matter of time -- the taking of life by a driver relentlessly bent on turning his vehicle into a lawless, dangerous missile."

Nader wrote that Janklow had been cited several times previously for "excessive speeding and reckless driving," and said that "for years you have spoken, some would say even boasted, about your penchant for driving very fast on public highways."

Nader, the Green Party candidate for president in 2000, said Janklow should face second-degree manslaugher charges.

Janklow's office did not respond to a call for comment Friday.

Janklow was elected to the state's sole House seat in 2002 after serving four terms as governor.

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