Crash that killed Rep. Indiana Valorsky blamed for failed overtaking attempt

Last month, Indiana employee Rep. Jackie Valorski was trying to overtake a flatbed truck on Indiana’s northern highway when the SUV they were in crashed into an oncoming vehicle, killing Valorski and three others, police said Friday.

A witness riding behind the SUV told investigators that he accelerated, crossed the center line of a two-lane highway as he approached the truck, and entered the path of another vehicle when the accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. on August 3. to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.

Data from the airbag control module of an SUV driven by 27-year-old Zachary Potts, who was the district director of Valorski, showed that he was traveling at a speed of 77 miles per hour at the time of the accident on rural Indiana 19 near the city of Wacarusa, the office said in a statement.

“All the evidence and information gathered is consistent with someone attempting to overtake another vehicle on a two-lane road,” the office said in a statement.

Valorsky, 58, was a Republican who was first elected as a Representative from Northern Indiana’s 2nd congressional district in 2012 and is seeking re-election this year for a sixth term.

The sheriff’s office released a statement from the county coroner ruling that the deaths of Valorski and others were accidental as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. Investigators blamed the accident on Potts for “driving to the left of center, aided by excessive speed”.

The accident also killed 28-year-old Emma Thomson, director of communications for Valorsky, and 56-year-old Edith Schmucker of Nappani, Indiana, who was driving another vehicle.

The sheriff’s office said investigators found no signs of mechanical damage in any of the vehicles or any evidence of cell phones being used by anyone in the vehicles at the time of the accident.

Republican officials have chosen Rudy Yakim, chief executive of Elkhart’s Kem Cross distribution company and longtime political ally of Valorsky, to replace her in the November elections in the GOP-dominated district. The county’s congressional seat will remain vacant until a special election in November to complete Valorsky’s term before the end of this year.

Yakim will meet Democrat Paul Steyri, a science teacher from Goshen, and libertarian William Henry.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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