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Rep. Jackie Walorski, three others, die in Indiana car crash

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., died in a car crash Wednesday in Indiana that killed two other people in her vehicle and the driver of another vehicle. File Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., died in a car crash Wednesday in Indiana that killed two other people in her vehicle and the driver of another vehicle. File Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican who represented Indiana in Congress since 2013, died Wednesday in a car crash in her home district, her office announced. She was 58.

Walorski was riding in an SUV with Emma Thomson, 28, a member of her staff, and Zach Potts, 27, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party when another vehicle struck them head-on. Thomson, Potts and the driver -- and sole occupant -- of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, also died of their injuries, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office said.

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Walorski's office confirmed the news in a post on her Twitter account.

"Dean Swihart, Jackie's husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff's office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers," the tweet read.

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The sheriff's office said the crash happened at about 12:30 p.m. on State Road 19, south of Wakarusa. The crash took place in the 2nd Congressional District, which Walorski has represented in the U.S. House since January 2013.

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"A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head on with a southbound sports utility vehicle," the sheriff's office said.

President Joe Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were "shocked and saddened" by the death of Walorski and the others involved in the crash. He ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday and Thursday.

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"We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served," Joe Biden said.

"We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana's Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own."

Before being elected to U.S. Congress in 2012, Walorski served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010.

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In the U.S. House, she was the ranking member of the House ethics committee and held positions on the ways and means, armed services, budget, Veterans Affairs, and coronavirus crisis committees. She belonged to the Veterinary Medicine, U.S.-Japan and Republican Study caucuses.

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Fellow Indiana Rep. Jim Banks called Walorski "one of the greatest public servants" he's ever known.

"Jackie was a true public servant -- selfless, humble and compassionate," he said. "Everything Jackie did was to serve others.

"Fro my first day in Congress, Jackie showed me kindness and grace. She had a heart of gold, and I will miss her dearly."

Walorski is survived by her husband, Swihart.

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Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of "The Runaways" in 2010. The actress, best known for starring in "Cheers" and the "Look Who's Talking" film series, died at the age of 71 on November 5 following a battle with cancer. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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