Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was killed Wednesday in a car crash in her home state of Indiana.
The vehicle Walorski was riding in caused the crash, killing him, two employees and the driver of another vehicle, according to the Indiana Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the collision.
Initially, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said Walorski’s vehicle was traveling on a state highway in northern Indiana when it collided head-on with another vehicle that crossed the centerline.
However, on Thursday, the sheriff’s office released a new report based on eyewitness and video evidence that corrected its initial findings.
Emma Thompson, a member of Walorski’s staff, and Zach Potts, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, were also killed in the crash, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Indiana, also died in the crash, the sheriff’s office said.
According to the sheriff’s office, Potts drove the vehicle across the centerline to cause the collision. All four were wearing seat belts, and vehicle airbags deployed during the crash.
In a statement from the White House, President Joe Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” by the news of Walorski’s death.
Walorski, 58, was born in South Bend and was first elected to Congress in 2012. Before he was elected to Congress, Walorski served three terms in the Indiana Statehouse, served as a missionary in Romania and spent time in television. News Correspondent and Director of Higher Education Development.
News of Walorski’s death prompted an outcry from his congressional colleagues and others on both sides of the aisle in Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Walorski’s honor.
“A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski has lived a life of service: caring for impoverished children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana Statehouse or serving nearly a decade in the House,” Pelosi said in a statement. He was admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his Northern Indiana constituents in Congress, and for his personal compassion.”
The White House also announced that flags will be flown at half-staff on Wednesday and Thursday in honor of the congresswoman.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, of Indiana, said he was “heartbroken” to lose a “truly inspiring Indiana leader.”
“He served Indiana with integrity and principle for nearly two decades in the Statehouse and Congress, and he will be greatly missed.” Pence tweeted.
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said in a prepared statement that he was “devastated” to learn of Walorski’s death.
“He was a champion for the people of Indiana and will be remembered for his kindness, determination and commitment to helping others,” he said. “Jackie and her staff died serving her constituents. They will be missed and our nation will miss their service. My prayers go out to Jackie’s loving husband Dean, her entire family and the families of both of her staff.
Judy Chu, D-Calif
“During our time working together, I have been continually struck by his commitment to his district and his deep desire to find ways to make our health care system work for everyone,” Chu said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Congress had “lost one of our best.”
“Rep. Jackie Walorski was a true leader/legislator and the most thoughtful person one could ever hope to meet. She was dedicated and determined, and beloved of colleagues — with a heart to match,” he said in a prepared statement.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat from Indiana, praised Walorski’s approach even when they disagreed.
“Even though we came from very different places politically, he was always willing to work together where there was common ground, always polite and straightforward, and he cared deeply about his work and his constituents.” he tweeted on Wednesday.
Check back with USA TODAY for more on this developing story.
Contributed by: Candy Woodall, Dylan Wells, Joey Garrison