Washington— Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana was killed in a car crash Wednesday, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff Jeff Siegel said Walorski, 58, was in an SUV traveling south when he was hit head-on by another car just after 12:30 p.m. The three occupants of one of the cars – Walorski, his district manager Zachery Potts, 27, and communications director Emma Thomson, 28 – died from her injuries.
The lone passenger in the other car involved in the crash, which was heading north, was also pronounced dead at the scene, according to Siegel.
An investigation by the Elkhart County Coroner’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office is ongoing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags in the US Capitol to be flown at half mast, her spokeswoman Drew Hammill said.
Walorski was elected to represent Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, which includes South Bend, in 2012 after serving three terms in the Statehouse. She was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and served on the Ways and Means Committee.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed Walorski’s death in a tweeted statement from his office, noting that her husband, Dean Swihart, had been informed that the congresswoman had been killed in the collision.
“She went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” McCarthy said. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Tributes to Walorski quickly poured in from elected officials on both sides of the aisle and from members of the Indiana congressional delegation.
Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Ways and Means panel, said the MP was “the ‘happy Hoosier’ who would light up a room with her joy, passion, sparkle and love of life”.
“There is nothing [Walorski] couldn’t do”, he tweeted.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, said on Twitter she is “absolutely heartbroken” and “my heart goes out to the families of each of the victims”, while fellow Indiana Rep. Jim Banks hailed Walorski as a “true public servant – selfless, humble and compassionate”.
“From my first day in Congress, Jackie showed me kindness and grace,” he said in a statement. “She had a heart of gold, and I will miss her very much.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who also represented Indiana in the House before becoming governor, said he and his wife are praying for Walorski’s family and the families of Potts and Thomson.
“She served Indiana in the State House and Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and will be deeply missed,” he said in a statement. pair of tweets.
Indiana Sen. Todd Young tweeted that he was “truly devastated” by Walorski’s death and said she “loved Hoosiers and dedicated her life to fighting for them. I will never forget his spirit, his positive attitude and, above all, his friendship.”