INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police have changed their description of the crash. Kill Indiana Republican Congressman Jackie Waroskisaid Thursday that it was the SUV she was a passenger in that crossed the centerline of the state highway and caused a head-on collision.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said Warorski and two of his congressional employees died Wednesday afternoon, along with a woman who was driving another vehicle, in a crash in northern Indiana.
The department’s initial explanation was that a car driven by Edith Schmucker, 56, of Napanee, Indiana, crossed the path of the SUV, but the office released a statement Thursday saying that investigators had no witnesses. He said he had spoken and looked at video evidence to make a preliminary determination of which direction it had moved. It was a mistake that the vehicle was moving.
Investigators determined that an SUV driven by Zachary Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, Indiana, crossed the centerline for unknown reasons in the countryside near the town of Wakalsa. Potts was district chief of Warorski and St. He served as the Republican chairman of Joseph County in northern Indiana. Also dead was Emma Thomson, 28, of Washington, DC, who was Warorski’s director of communications.
Warorski, 58, was first elected in 2012 to represent Northern Indiana’s second congressional district and was seeking re-election for a sixth term this year in a strong Republican congressional district. Warorski was a credible Republican vote in Congress, including against accepting President Joe Biden’s Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes following the Capitol riots.
Under Indiana law, it would be up to local Republican officials to choose a candidate to replace Warorski on the ballot. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has the power to schedule a special election to fill the rest of Warorski’s current term, which ends this year.
The governor’s office and state Republicans said on Thursday that it was too early to say when those decisions would be made, as tributes to Warorski’s public service continued.
The U.S. Senate pastor included her, Thomson, and Potts in the opening prayer on the floor, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell praised all three in his opening address. How big a hole the team is leaving.”
In Indianapolis, the Indiana House of Representatives, where Warorski served for six years before becoming a member of the House, bowed Thursday as Republican Rep. Timothy Wesco offered a prayer for Warorski.
Wesco, who took over Warorski’s legislative district, called Warorski a “leader” who was “passionate about everything she did.”
“Her faith was central to her as a person. Her faith gives us hope today,” Wesco said. “None of us have a guaranteed tomorrow.”
Indiana’s last special election for Congress was in 2010, when Republican Rep. Mark Sauder resigned shortly after winning the May primary. government at the time. Mitch Daniels has decided to hold a special election at the same time as the November general election during his two-year term, citing the potential cost and voter convenience of another election.
Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young described Warorski as having a great sense of humor and being incredibly smart.
“She had her own values and beliefs in them,” Young said. “She wasn’t very guarded about who she was or why she believed otherwise, unlike a lot of people in public.”
Associated Press reporter Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press video journalist Rick Gentilo contributed from Washington.