Indiana U.S. representative, others killed in highway accident

Indiana U.S. representative, others killed in highway accident

Indiana U.S. representative, others killed in highway accident

A Republican congresswoman lost her life Wednesday afternoon in an automobile accident. Two of her staff members and the driver of the second vehicle were also killed.

Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) was traveling in Elkhart County with those two young staffers when another vehicle collided head-on with her SUV. The 58-year-old congresswoman took her seat in the House of Representatives in January 2013 and was in her fifth term representing Indiana's 2nd Congressional District.

Others who died in the accident, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office, were: Zachery Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, IN; Emma Thomson, 28, of Washington, DC; and Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, IN. Schucker was the drive of the second vehicle.

Walorski's fellow Indiana Republican in the House, Rep. Jim Banks, tweeted the following:

"My heart is broken for [Walorski's husband] Dean [Swihart], the Walorski family, and all who knew and loved my friend Jackie. Jackie was a true public servant – selfless, humble, and compassionate. She was a devout Christian, a passionate advocate for life, and a leader among Hoosier representatives. Everything Jackie did was to serve others. Before Congress, she served in the Indiana Statehouse and she and her husband served as missionaries in Romania where they provided impoverished children food and medical care."

Micah Clark, executive director of American Family Association of Indiana, spoke with AFN:

"This is just devastating news. She was a fighting for our issues – a wonderful person, a follower of Christ. She had been a missionary in Romania for many years before entering politics. This is a huge loss for Indiana politics and the people in northern Indiana who knew her really well as a long-term congresswoman. She fought the good fight for us on so many fronts, for so many years. This is tragic beyond words."

Walorski and her husband, a school teacher, married in 1995. She served on the House Ways and Means Committee; and as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support as well as House Ethics Committee.

Editor's note: Comments from Micah Clark added after story was originally posted.