Sheriff: SUV carrying Rep. Walorski was driving left of center, speeding before fatal crash
GOSHEN, Ind. (WISH) — The SUV carrying Rep. Jackie Walorski was driving left of center in an attempt to execute a pass and speeding right before a fatal August crash that killed Walorski, two of her staffers, and a woman from Nappanee, according to a report issued Friday by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.
On Aug. 3, an SUV driven by 27-year-old St. Joseph Republican Party Chair Zachery Potts crossed the center line of State Road 19 and crashed head-on into the SUV of 56-year-old Edith Schmucker.
The crash killed Potts, Schmucker, Walorski, and Walorski’s 28-year-old communications director, Emma Thomson.
Crash investigators determined the SUV was following a flatbed truck when it was observed slowing to create distance between itself and the truck. The Toyota was then seen accelerating to a “high rate of speed.” As it neared the rear of the truck, the vehicle swerved into the southbound lane, where it collided with Schmucker’s car.
Investigators claim “black box” data from the SUV shows it was driving around 82 mph five seconds before the crash and was “coasting” at 77 mph milliseconds before the airbags deployed. Potts had also steered to the left just prior to the crash.
Investigators say cell phone information was reviewed from all occupants and nobody was using a phone prior to or during the crash.
No mechanical failures were found in the vehicles.