Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski killed in car crash

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was among four victims of a car crash Wednesday afternoon in northern Indiana.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., issued a statement confirming the death, writing, "Dean Swihart, Jackie's husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff's office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. We have no further comment at this time."

Police said Thursday that Walorski, 58, was traveling with her communications director, Emma Thomson, and Zachery Potts of the St. Joseph’s County Republican Party, when their SUV crossed the center line and struck another car, killing all occupants and the driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker.

Originally, authorities said Schmucker’s car had crossed the line.

Rep. Jackie Walorski.
Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., in Washington, D.C., in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Walorski was first elected to the seat, which contains the cities of South Bend and Elkhart, in 2012 after time spent as a television reporter and state legislator. She was the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose term as mayor of South Bend overlapped with Walorski’s tenure, issued a statement expressing his condolences.

“I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski,” Buttigieg said. “My thoughts and prayers are with her family and the other victims of this terrible crash. Though we came from very different places politically, she was always prepared to work together where there was common ground, always decent and straightforward, and she cared deeply about her work and her constituents.”

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., responded to the news on Twitter, writing, “I'm truly devastated. Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them. 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.”

Updated [Aug. 4]: This article has been updated to reflect that police changed their account of what happened in the crash.