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Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski and two staffers killed in automotive crash

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Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., is seen before a House Ways and Means Committee markup in Longworth Constructing on July 12, 2018.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and two of her staffers were killed in a automotive 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 within the two-car collision. Their deaths were confirmed by the sheriff’s office in a Facebook post. “A northbound passenger automotive traveled left of center and collided head on” with Walorski’s vehicle, the sheriff’s office wrote. The driving force of that automotive was also killed.

“Devastated to listen to the horrible news of the passing of Jackie Walorski and her two staffers,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted. “She was a pricey friend who loved serving the people of Indiana in Congress.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was traveling in Asia, ordered the flags on 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 popular with her Republican and Democratic colleagues within the House, where she was near McCarthy and his leadership team.

McCarthy named her the highest Republican on the House Ethics Committee, and she or he was set to be chairman of the bipartisan committee if Republicans won the bulk in November.

Lots of her colleagues within 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 within the House. “I’ll always remember her spirit, her positive attitude, and most significantly her friendship.”

“My heart is heavy with the news from northern Indiana. Jackie was a real friend & an incredible colleague,” tweeted Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind. “Hoosiers have lost a champion & dedicated public servant.”

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