Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who had represented Indiana’s 2nd District since 2013, died Wednesday in a car crash. The two-car collision reportedly occurred in Elkhart County, Indiana, which is located in Walorski’s home district.
In addition to Walorski, three others were killed, per local reports: local Republican official Zachery Potts; Walorski’s comms director, Emma Thompson; and the driver of the other vehicle, identified as Edith Schmucker. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) confirmed Walorski’s death in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Washington — Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana was killed in a car crash Wednesday, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff Jeff Siegel said Walorski, 58, was in a SUV traveling southbound when it was hit head-on by another car just after 12:30 p.m. All three occupants in the vehicle — Walorski, her district director Zachery Potts, 27, and communications director Emma Thomson, 28 — died as a result of their injuries.
The sole passenger of the other car involved in the crash, which was traveling northbound, also was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Siegel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to fly at half-staff, her spokesman, Drew Hammill, said. Flags at the White House will also be flown at half-staff on Wednesday and Thursday in Walorski’s memory, the White House said.
Walorski was elected to represent Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes South Bend, in 2012 after serving three terms in the statehouse. She was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and served on the Ways and Means Committee.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed Walorski’s death in a tweeted statement from her office, noting that her husband, Dean Swihart, was informed the congresswoman had been killed in the collision.
“She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the statement said. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Indiana Sen. Mike Braun told reporters, “I just learned about an hour or so ago. It’s one of those things that takes the absolute air out of you. I was on the phone and a text came through. Spent a lot of time with Jackie. Got to know her early when I stuck my neck into the political realm.” He said she was “always a good friend,” and added, “when it’s close to home, and you know the people, it’s tough to get through.”
Tributes for Walorski quickly poured in from elected officials on both sides of the aisle and members of Indiana’s congressional delegation.