The car that Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski was riding in whenwas the one who caused an accident when he swerved into oncoming traffic, contrary to initial reports that it was the other driver’s fault, authorities said.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office originally said a maroon Buick LeSabre heading south on State Road 19 crossed the center line and struck the Toyota RAV 4 in which Walorski and two deputies were heading north on Wednesday afternoon. the afternoon.
But the sheriff’s office said Thursday morning that, based on new information, it had determined its preliminary findings were incorrect. He said additional eyewitnesses and video evidence confirmed that it was the RAV 4 that cut into oncoming traffic “for reasons that are unknown at this time.”
The three people in RAV 4: Walorski, 58; his district director, Zachery Potts, 27; and communications director Emma Thomson, 28, died as a result of their injuries. The driver and sole occupant of the LeSabre, Edith Schmucker, 56, was also killed in the crash.
Authorities said all four were wearing seat belts and the vehicles’ air bags deployed.
The accident remains under investigation.
Walorski was elected to represent Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, which includes South Bend, in 2012 after serving three terms in the state house. She was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and also served on the Ways and Means Committee.
“She has come home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement about Walorski’s death. “Please keep her family in her thoughts and prayers.”
Tributes to Walorski quickly poured in from elected officials from both sides of the aisle and from members of the Indiana congressional delegation.
Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the ways and means panel, said the congresswoman was “the ‘happy hoosier’ who lit up a room with her joy, passion, brilliance and love of life.”
“There is nothing [Walorski] couldn’t do,” he said. tweeted.
Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said on Twitter she is “absolutely heartbroken” and “my heart goes out to the families of each of the victims”, while Indiana Representative Jim Banks praised Walorski as a “true, selfless, humble and compassionate public servant”.
“From my first day in Congress, Jackie showed me kindness and grace,” he said in a statement. “She had a heart of gold and I will miss her dearly.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who also represented Indiana in the House before serving as the state’s governor from 2013 to 2017, said he and his wife are praying for the Walorski family and the Potts and Thomson families.
“She served Indiana in the state house and Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and she will be deeply missed,” he said in a statement. couple of tweets.
Indiana Sen. Todd Young tweeted that he is “truly devastated” by Walorski’s death, saying she “loved the Hoosiers and dedicated her life to fighting for them. I will never forget her spirit, her positive attitude and, what More importantly, your friendship.”