U.S. congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two members of her staff were killed in a head-on vehicle collision in Indiana on Wednesday, her office and local police said.
Walorski, a Republican who represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, was traveling in a vehicle with the two others when another car veered into their lane, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said.
Emma Thomson, a member of Walorski’s staff, and Zach Potts, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party, also were killed in the crash, according to the South Bend Tribune. The newspaper reported that Walorski’s vehicle was traveling on a state route in Elkhart County when a car traveling the opposite direction crossed the center line, colliding head-on with the vehicle.
Walorski, 58, was born in South Bend, Ind., and was first elected to Congress in 2012. Before she was elected to Congress, Walorski served three terms in the Indiana Statehouse, worked as a missionary in Romania and spent time as a television news reporter and development director in higher education.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, an Indiana native, said he was “heartbroken” over the loss of a “truly inspiring Indiana leader.”
“She served Indiana in the Statehouse and the Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and will be deeply missed,” Pence tweeted.
Confirming her death in a statement shared on Twitter by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, Walorski’s office said: “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.”
It added: “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Walorski was a lifelong resident of Indiana, according to her official biography. She served on the House Ways and Means Committee and as the top Republican on the subcommittee on worker and family support.