Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson were the two aides to U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died with the Indiana congresswoman in a two-vehicle crash.
Their names were released by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department. Both had already developed lengthy careers in politics even though they were still in their 20s.
Walorski, 58, was killed in the traffic crash, according to her office.
According to her Congressional biography, Walorski, a Republican, served on some powerful committees, including the House Ways and Means Committee. She was the ranking member of the “Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support,” and she served as the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, the bio says.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Emma Thomson Was a Communications Director For Another Congressman & Worked in Digital Media
According to her LinkedIn page, Thomson was Walorski’s communications director for more than a year. Before that, she was the campaign manager for Dr. John Joyce for Congress.
She was also the communications director for the Office of Congressman Joyce. Before that, she served as communications director for the Office of Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Thomson also worked as a digital communications assistant for the Democracy Fund and as a press assistant for Marco Rubio for President.
She was also an intern in the U.S. Senate.
Zachery Potts Volunteered to Teach Native Spanish Speakers English & Was Chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party
Zachery Potts, the other person who died, had worked for Walorski for more than three years, according to his LinkedIn page.
Before that, he worked as Walorski’s campaign manager and coordinator. He currently served as chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party. He was also 2nd District Young Republicans chair, vice chair of the St. Joseph Republican Party, and Victory Team Captain of the Indiana Republican Party.
Potts was a volunteer at La Casa de Amistad, Inc., helping teach native Spanish speakers the English language. He had bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University in political science/government and sociology.
Walorski’s Husband, Dean Swihart, Confirmed That She Was Killed in a Car Accident, as Did the Sheriff & House Minority Leader
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a statement on Twitter that read,
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.
Her official Twitter page also released the same statement.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on Facebook that read,
On August 3, 2022 at approximately 12:32 p.m. the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two vehicle crash on SR 19 south of SR 119. A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head on with a southbound sports utility vehicle.
All three occupants in the southbound vehicle died as a result of their injuries:
Jackie Walorski, 58, Elkhart, Indiana
Zachery Potts, 27, Mishawaka, Indiana
Emma Thomson, 28, Washington, DC
The sole occupant of the northbound vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, Nappanee, Indiana was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The Elkhart County Coroner’s Office and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office are conducting the investigation.
No additional information will be released at this time.
However, on August 4, 2022, the sheriff’s department released an updated statement:
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office has obtained updated information into the vehicle crash that occurred on August 3, 2022. The information from the preliminary investigation at the scene, as to the direction of travel of the vehicles, was not correct. The continuing investigation has located eyewitness and video evidence.
Both confirm that the maroon Buick LeSabre driven by Edith Schmucker, 56, Nappanee, Indiana, was southbound on SR 19 south of SR 119 and the silver Toyota RAV 4, driven by Zachery Potts, 27, Mishawaka, Indiana, was northbound on SR 19. The Toyota RAV 4 crossed the centerline for reasons that are unknown at this time and the two vehicles collided. All occupants of both vehicles were confirmed to have been wearing seatbelts and airbags did deploy. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to interview witnesses and collect evidence from the scene and vehicles. If anyone has information or witnessed this crash, we ask that they contact the Sheriff’s Office. If any new information becomes available as the investigation continues, we will send updated releases.
Walorski had a long history of public service in Indiana. According to her biography, she was first elected to Congress in 2012, with a special interest in fighting for veterans and growing the economy.