Indiana Rep. Walorski, 2 staffers killed in head-on crash


WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski was killed Wednesday in a car crash in her northern Indiana district along with two members of her congressional staff and another person, police said.

Jackie Walorski
FILE - In this July 19, 2018, photo, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Walorski's office says that she was killed Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in a car accident. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The crash happened about 12:30 p.m. when a car crossed the center line on state highway and collided head-on with the SUV Walorski was riding in, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office said. Three people in the SUV, including Walorski, 58, were killed, as was a woman driving the other car, authorities said.

Walorski, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was first elected to represent Indiana's 2nd Congressional District in 2012. She previously served six years in the state's Legislature.

"She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers," Walorski's chief of staff Tim Cummings said in a statement.

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 24: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) speaks as Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (2nd L) and House Republican Conference Vice Chair Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) look on during a news briefing after a House Republican Conference meeting February 24, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House GOP held the meeting to discuss the Republican agenda. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Walorski and her husband were previously Christian missionaries in Romania, where they established a foundation that provided food and medical supplies to impoverished children. She worked as a television news reporter in South Bend before turning to politics.

Also killed in the crash were Zachery Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, Indiana; Emma Thomson, 28, of Washington, D.C.; and Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Indiana, according to the sheriff's office.

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TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28: Indiana Congressional candidate Jackie Walorski speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Cummings confirmed that Potts and Thomson were members of Walorski's congressional staff. Thompson was Walorski's communications director, while Potts was her district director and the Republican chairman for northern Indiana's St. Joseph County.

Schmucker was driving the other car, according to the sheriff's office. The crash, which occurred in a rural area near the town of Wakarusa, is still under investigation.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN, speaks about U.S President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on auto imports and the impact on auto makers and their surrounding communities, during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on July 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Indiana Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young said he was devastated" by Walorski's death.
"Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them," Young said in a statement. "I'll never forget her spirit, her positive attitude, and most importantly her friendship. All of Indiana mourns her passing, along with the tragic deaths of her staff Emma Thomson and Zach Potts. Please join me in praying for their families in this difficult time."

Walorski was seeking reelection this year to a sixth term in the solidly Republican district.
Davies reported from Indianapolis.

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