Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and two of her staffers were killed in a car crash on Wednesday, authorities said. Walorski was 58.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy first confirmed Walorski’s death in a tweet earlier Wednesday.
McCarthy said that Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, was informed of her death by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office on Wednesday afternoon.
Walorski District Director Zachery Potts, 27, and her Communications Director Emma Thomson, 28, also died in the two-car collision. Their deaths were confirmed by the sheriff’s office in a Facebook post. “A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head on” with Walorski’s vehicle, the sheriff’s office wrote. The driver of that car was also killed.
“Devastated to hear the horrible news of the passing of Jackie Walorski and her two staffers,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted. “She was a dear friend who loved serving the people of Indiana in Congress.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was traveling in Asia, ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff, her spokesman said.
A former Indiana state lawmaker, Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012 and was running for her sixth term this fall. She was well-liked by her Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House, where she was close to McCarthy and his leadership team.
McCarthy named her the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee, and she was set to be chairman of the bipartisan committee if Republicans won the majority in November.
Many of her colleagues in the Indiana delegation also tweeted their sympathies shortly after her death was announced.
“I’m truly devastated. Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them,” tweeted Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who had served with Walorski in the House. “I’ll never forget her spirit, her positive attitude, and most importantly her friendship.”
“My heart is heavy with the news from northern Indiana. Jackie was a true friend & an incredible colleague,” tweeted Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind. “Hoosiers have lost a champion & dedicated public servant.”