According to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-2nd District) was died in an automobile accident in Elkhart County on Wednesday.
According to authorities, Walorski and two other passengers were in a car travelling south on Indiana 19 south of Wakarusa at 12:30 p.m. when the incident occurred. A automobile traveling north collided with the Walorski vehicle. Zach Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, were both in the car with Walorski at the time of the incident and were killed.
Walorski, 58, has represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2013.
Potts was the chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party. Thomson was Walorski’s communications director. The group was returning from a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Claypool, according to media reports.
The collision is currently being investigated by Elkhart County police. The driver of the northbound automobile was identified as Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, and she was declared dead at the scene on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the sheriff’s department, Schmucker’s automobile crossed the center line and collided with Walorski’s car head-on. According to Fox59 in Indianapolis, the department reversed the remark and indicated the first information may have been erroneous. The Tribune was unable to confirm whether the statement had been withdrawn with the department Wednesday night.
“Congresswoman Walorski was a tireless advocate for her district, larger than life and with an infectious personality that caught the attention of every audience.” “In a statement, Susan Baxmeyer, vice chair of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, stated “She was seldom without a smile, a kind remark, or a stirring and inspirational message. She put her heart and soul into her work every day.
“And, while our district has lost an outstanding politician, the greater loss is that of a devoted friend.”
“Jackie’s efforts on behalf of our town, the state of Indiana, and the United States of America stands as a monument to the strength of a passionate and forceful voice,” Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood said.
“A strong lady of profound and abiding faith, Jackie’s legacy serves as a paradigm for all of us to put others and our country ahead of ourselves.” “She is and always will be a patriot,” he continued. “Jackie will be much missed.”
Potts became interested in the local Republican party as a high school student, according to Baxmeyer.
He was the district director for Walorski and the district chair on the Indiana Republican Party State Committee, in addition to being the county party chair.
Zach Potts, Chairman of the Republican Party in St. Joseph County.
Potts, a Republican who has been on the Mishawaka Common Council since 2012, has done well to take the county Republican party ahead, according to Mike Bellovich, a Republican who has served on the Mishawaka Common Council since 2012.
In her statement, Baxmeyer stated of Potts, “He was not someone who accepted the odds.” “Telling him it couldn’t be done made him push even harder. There was always a new task to take on, a new project to complete, or a campaign to win.”
Walorski, 58, was born and reared in South Bend’s Gilmer Park area, just outside the city boundaries. Her father, Raymond, was a South Bend firefighter who operated an appliance repair company, and her mother, Martha, was a meat cutter at a supermarket.
She spent the first four years of her work as a reporter for WSBT-TV after attending Liberty Baptist College and graduating from Taylor University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and public administration.
She then worked for the St. Joseph County Humane Society, Ancilla College, the South Bend Regional Chamber, and Indiana University South Bend before co-founding and running a Christian ministry in Romania for four years with her husband.