*****CORRECTION: This article has been corrected after the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office sent a correction to their initial report.******

NAPPANEE — U.S Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, 58, is one of four people killed in a Wednesday wreck near Nappanee.

The crash occurred on Ind. 19, south of Ind. 119, where one car was heading south and another heading north at 12:32 p.m.

Walorski, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Indiana’s 2nd District, and two of her staff members were in an SUV headed north on Ind. 19. the vehicle was driven by her district manager Zachery Potts, 27, Mishawaka. Also in the vehicle was her communications director Emma Thomson, 28, Washington, D.C.

The sole occupant of the southbound vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, Nappanee, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A report from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said the Walorski's SUV traveled left of center and collided with Schmucker's vehicle head on.


Albert Nagy of Mishawaka was out shopping Wednesday when he got word of the accident. He then opted to stop by Walorski’s Mishawaka office, where a informal memorial was started, and pay his respects.

“It’s just such a shock,” he said of the crash.

Nagy also shared his thoughts on the congresswoman’s years of service.

“It’s a job well done,” he said.

President Joe Biden issued a statement.

“Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana along with two members of her staff in a car accident today in Indiana,” the statement read. “Born in her beloved South Bend as the daughter of a meat-cutter and firefighter, she spent a lifetime serving the community that she grew up in — as a journalist, a nonprofit director, a state legislator, and eventually as a Member of Congress for the past nine and half years.”

“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. She also served as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and my team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America.”

“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.”

Walorski has represented the 2nd District since 2013 and many say had an impact on many lives along the way. She was hoping for reelection this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Walorski.

A statement from Walorski’s office reads, “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. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Jim Banks stated on Twitter, “My heart is broken for Dean, 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. From my first day in Congress, Jackie showed me kindness and grace. She had a heart of gold, and I will miss her dearly. Please join Amanda and I in praying for her Jackie’s loved ones and the friends and family of her two staff members who also lost their lives in this tragic accident.”

Elkhart Mayor Rod Robertson stated, “I am shocked and saddened to learn of Rep. Jackie Walorski’s passing and the passing of her staff members. This is a devastating loss for Elkhart, Indiana, and for the nation. Jackie was a warrior for Hoosiers in Washington and her collaboration and passion was felt right here in Elkhart. Her dedication to serving our community will be hard to replace. Her family, her colleagues, and her staff are in my prayers.”

“I was among those shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of my good friends Rep. Jackie Walorski and Zach Potts, along with staffer Emma Thomson following a car crash in Elkhart County today,” Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers stated in an email. “I first got to know Jackie on the campaign trail during her initial run for congress in 2010. Her years of dedicated service to our region was exemplary. Rep. Walorski and her staff were always ready to listen and were prepared to provide the best constituent service possible. My prayers are with the families of all those involved in this terrible incident.”

Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman issued a statement on behalf of community of Goshen.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, as well as the families of all involved in an accident just outside of Wakarusa this afternoon.”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sent a press release stating, “Jackie Walorski was a woman who stood strong in her values, cared for her family, and served Hoosiers well. I have many great memories and stories of our time together in Congress and on the campaign trail. In addition to everything else, she had a great sense of humor. She will be missed. Our sympathies also go out to the families of Zach Potts and Emma Thomson who died in the same tragic accident. Hoosiers across the state mourn the loss of these public servants.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, Indiana, said, “Jackie Walorski was a tireless advocate for the Hoosiers she represented and a kind friend to everyone she met. She faithfully served her constituents and her Lord and Savior, and I trust she is now wrapped in the arms of Christ. This is a devastating loss, and we grieve for her two staff members — Zach and Emma — who had their whole lives ahead of them. Please join me and Maureen in praying for the families and friends of those lost on this tragic day for Indiana.”

“We mourn the loss of Representative Jackie Walorski who supported protections for the most vulnerable among us,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The pro-life movement is deeply indebted to Congresswoman Walorski for her service on behalf of the unborn.”

Congresswoman Walorski had a 100% voting record with National Right to Life, the statement reads.

Tobias added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the congresswoman’s family at this time.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence writes, “Karen Pence and I are heartbroken by the tragic passing of our dear friend Rep. Jackie Walorski. She served Indiana in the Statehouse and the Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and will be deeply missed.”

State Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Goshen, emailed a statement, “Jackie Walorski and I have been friends for years. I have always looked up to her ability to stand her ground on tough topics, and I highly respect the legislation she worked on during her time in Congress. She was an excellent representative for Indiana’s 2nd District of the U.S. House of Representatives, and she will be missed by all.

“I grieve with her friends and family, as well as with the families of Emma Thomson and Zachery Potts. I will be keeping all those involved in the crash in my prayers.”

State Sen. Linda Rogers, R-Granger, said, “I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of my friend, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, and her two staffers and friends Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson.

“Congresswoman Jackie Walorski was both a beloved friend of mine and a well-respected and effective member of Congress who worked tirelessly for the people of Indiana. She was extremely community-oriented, always interacting with her constituents, was a friend to all and preferred to be called Jackie. As an advocate for the district, I admired her and looked up to her leadership and we worked together frequently. I will miss her dearly and I know that she will never be forgotten.

“Zach was a close friend of mine who I worked with on numerous occasions. Zach was a brilliant, civic-minded young man who was always willing to help everyone and cared deeply for our community.

“I extend my deepest condolences to Jackie’s mother Martha, her husband Dean, as well as the families of Zach and Emma, including Zach’s fiancée Ashlea Davis. I also grieve for the loss of Edith Schmucker, who was the sole occupant of the northbound vehicle. I will be keeping all of them and their families in my thoughts and prayers.”

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said, “I am shocked and very saddened by the sudden passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her two staffers, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, in a car accident today in Elkhart County.

“Congresswoman Walorski was such a pleasure to work with — both in her tenure at the Indiana Statehouse and in Congress. She always fought hard for her constituents and was a trusted ally in advocating for policies to better the lives of Hoosiers. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce sends its sincere condolences to the Congresswoman’s family and the families of all lost today.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s statement reads: “Janet and I are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her two staffers — Emma Thomson and Zach Potts — earlier today. Our broken hearts go out to her husband Dean and the entire family during this time of unimaginable mourning. At every level of public service Jackie was known to be a positive force of nature, a patriot, and a relentless policy maker with an unwavering loyalty to her constituents. Jackie’s record of achievement is impossible to quantify. She will be remembered as a fighter with a huge heart that always went the extra mile and I’ll treasure the times we walked a few of those together. Every waking moment for her was energetically devoted to improving the lives of all Hoosiers better, the epitome of a good and faithful servant. She, and the example she set, will be missed every day forward.”

Holcomb is asking that all Hoosiers lower their flags to half-staff today through the day of Walorski’s burial.

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