Investigators have determined the cause of the accident that killed Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski and three others on a northern Indiana highway last month.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department released a report Friday detailing that the driver of her vehicle was attempting to pass a flatbed truck on a two-lane highway when it collided with a car coming in the opposite lane.
These details were reported by a witness behind the accident, which happened on Aug. 3 at around 12:30 p.m. Investigators were also able to use airbag control module data to recreate the speed at the time of the horrific crash, which happened on a rural road near Wakarusa.
Police said the Toyota RAV4 that Walorski was a passenger in was driven by her district director, Zachery Potts. The statement described the SUV as slowing and putting some distance between itself and the flatbed truck before speeding to pass.
As the Toyota approached the slower truck to pass it in the southbound lane, it was moving at a reported 82 miles per hour before slowing a bit before the airbags deployed.
The statement concluded that there was no evidence that cellphones were in use in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
The probe into the August crash that killed U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and three others faulted the driver of the SUV she was riding in for trying to make an unsafe pass. https://t.co/q47voVg4AN
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 18, 2022
Along with Rep. Walorski, the crash claimed the lives of Potts, 27, and Walorski’s communications director Emma Thomson, 28. The driver of the southbound Buick struck by the Toyota, 56-year-old Edith Schmucker, was also killed in the accident.
It was initially reported by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department that Walorski’s vehicle was struck by the other vehicle which had crossed lanes.
But the department released new information that showed the vehicle carrying the congresswoman was the one that caused the accident.
Walorski, 58, was first elected in 2012 to represent Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and had since been reelected four times. The Republican was a former journalist. Officials chose Rudy Yakym, a long-time political ally of Walorski to replace her on the November ballot.