Updated Aug 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Jackie Walorski killed in car crash

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.

Longtime Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) was killed in a car crash in her district on Wednesday, according to local officials. She was 58.

The latest: The Elkhart County Sheriff's office changed its account of what happened on Thursday, now saying the car occupied by Walorski crossed the state highway's centerline and collided with another car.

  • Police initially said a car driving the opposite direction veered into oncoming traffic and killed Walorski and two of her staffers, Emma Thomson, 28, and Zachery Potts. Walorski was a passenger; Potts was driving the vehicle.
  • The driver of the other car, Edith Schmucker, 56, was killed as well and an investigation is ongoing.

What they're saying: President Biden said in a statement Wednesday that he and First Lady Jill Biden were "shocked and saddened" by the deaths of Walorski, Thomson and Potts.

  • "We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served," Biden added.
  • Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, whose hometown of South Bend is in Walorski's district, tweeted a similar note, saying "Though we came from very different places politically, she was always prepared to work together where there was common ground, always decent and straightforward,"
  • "She cared deeply about her work and her constituents," he added.
  • Tributes to Walorski from her Congressional colleagues poured in. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called her a "a good and honorable public servant." Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the news "with a heavy heart."
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown half-staff in Walorski's honor.

The big picture: Walorski’s death is another huge loss for the Hill community, which has dealt with the deaths of two other House members this year.

  • Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) passed away from cancer in February.
  • Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the longest-serving member of the House, died a month later after losing consciousness on a flight to his district.

The backdrop: Walorski was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and has served in Congress since 2013.

  • Before that she was a state representative from 2005 to 2010.

Editor's note: This story was updated with details of the crash from the Elkhart County Sheriff's latest statement.

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