Yesterday, we reported that the Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski was killed in a devastating car crash along with two of her aides and a fourth person in another vehicle. Now, police have shocked everyone by changing their account of this tragic crash.
The Associated Press reported that police have changed their take on the crash by saying that it was actually the SUV that Walorski, 58, was a passenger in that crossed a state highway’s centerline and caused the head-on collision. They say that the SUV being driven by Walorski’s staffer Zachery Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, Indiana crossed the centerline for reasons that are unknown in a rural area near the town of Wakarusa.
Potts was Walorski’s district director, and he was also the Republican chairman for northern Indiana’s St. Joseph County. Emma Thomson, 28, of Washington, D.C., who was Walorski’s communications director, was killed in the crash as well.
Police had initially said that the car being driven by Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Indiana was the one that caused a crash. However, they changed their account after speaking to witnesses and reviewing video evidence.
Walorski was first elected to represent northern Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District back in 2012, and she was set to run for reelection for the sixth time this year in her solidly Republican district. She was known for being reliably Republican in her votes in Congress, voting against accepting the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes for President Joe Biden after the Capitol riot.
In the wake of Walorski’s death, the law in her state mandates that local Republican officials will pick a candidate to replace her on the ballot. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has the option to schedule a special election to fill the remainder of Walorski’s current term, which will end later this year. Both the governor’s office and the state Republican Party have said that it’s too soon to make these kind of decisions, however, as they are focused in honoring Walorski’s memory.
Indiana Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young praised Walorski as someone who was very smart and had a fantastic sense of humor.
“She wore her values and her conviction on that on her sleeve,” Young said. “Unlike so many people in public life, she wasn’t really guarded about who she was and why she believed different things.”
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Walorski and her staffers on the House floor on Thursday, talking about “how great a hole Jackie and her team are leaving behind.” Indiana State Republican Rep. Timothy Wesco said a prayer for Walorski in Indianapolis, describing her as a “mentor” who was “passionate in everything that she did.”
“Her faith was central to her as a person, and her faith is what gives us hope today,” Wesco said. “None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.”
“She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a statement of his own, according to CBS News. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Walorski is survived by Dean Swihart, her husband of 27 years.