The Republican Indiana congresswoman Jackie Walorski was tragically killed yesterday along with two of her staffers and a fourth person in a horrific head-on car crash. Now, some chilling new details are coming to light about this crash that claimed the 58 year-old conservative’s life.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office told WNDO that the crash occurred just after 12:30 p.m. on State Road 19 in Nappanee when a red Buick crossed over the center line into the south bound lane and hit the silver Toyota Rav 4 that Walorski was riding in head-on. Walorski was killed along with her key staffers Emma Thomson, 28, and Zachery Potts, 27. Edith Schmucker, 56, has been identified as the driver of the red Buick, and she was also killed in the crash.
The crash was witnessed by one woman who did not wish to be named and said she was on her way home from work when she saw the horrifying scene unfold.
“I saw the vehicle spinning and heading towards my vehicle. I threw my phone across the car, slammed my car in park and just ran as fast I could to the first car,” the woman said. “I just wanted to help people and I feel guilty because I threw my phone in the car instead of calling 911. I threw my phone and I ran. I think that costs like three minutes.”
“But you ran and tried to help them?” the woman was asked.
“I did,” she replied as she began to cry.
“I saw some really really awful s*** today that like I will keep with me for the rest of my life,” she added. “I’m really sorry.”
Walorski’s death was announced on Wednesday afternoon by Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, was just informed by Elkhart County Sheriff’s office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon,” he said in a message posted to Twitter. “She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. We will have no further comment at this time.”
CNN reported that Tim Cummings, Walorski’s chief of staff, also confirmed the deaths of her and her two staffers.
“In addition to the devastating loss of Congresswoman Walorski, it is with a broken heart that I announce the passing of two dedicated members of her staff, Zach Potts and Emma Thomson,” he said. “They were the epitome of public servants who cared deeply about the work they performed.”
“Larger than life and possessing an infectious personality that captured the attention of every room, Congresswoman Walorski was a fierce advocate for her district,” Susan Baxmeyer, the vice chair of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, told the South Bend Tribune. “Never once was she without a smile, or a kind word, or a rousing and inspiring message. She poured her heart and soul into each day’s work. And while this district is losing an incredible representative, the bigger loss is that of a loyal friend.”
Walorski had been in Congress since 2013, and she was set to run for reelection this year. She is survived by Dean Swihart, her husband of 27 years.