The investigation into the August crash that killed U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and three others accused the driver of the SUV she was driving for attempting to make an unsafe pass.
The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said in its conclusion Friday that the driver of the Toyota RAV4 was driving north with the congresswoman when he entered a passageway of a flatbed and collided with an oncoming Buick.
The Aug. 3 collision occurred in Walorski County on State Route 19, a two-lane highway near the town of Wakarusa, about 21 miles southeast of South Bend.
Also murdered was her district director Zachery Potts, 27, who was driving; her communications director, Emma Thomson, 28; and the driver of the Buick, Edith Schmucker.
Potts had slowed down to gain distance with the flat-bed, then accelerated to 82 mph to make the pass, sheriff’s investigators said in a statement.
“The Toyota was observed to slow down, which was described as creating distance between the truck and the Toyota,” the statement said, citing a witness driving behind the SUV.
“Then the Toyota was observed to accelerate at high speed and reduce the distance to the unidentified truck,” the sheriff’s office said. “As the Toyota approached the rear of the truck, it veered into the southbound lane where it collided with the Buick heading south.”
There was no evidence that telephones were used before or during the crash, and there was no indication of mechanical failure, the sheriff’s office said.
Representatives and family of the late congressman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A November 8 special general election is scheduled to fill Walorski’s seat.
The Indiana Republicans chose Rudy Yakym, an executive at Elkhart distribution company Kem Krest, to replace Walorski on the ballot. He takes on Democrat Paul Steury, a high school science teacher, and libertarian William Henry.
Ava Kelley contributed.