A fatal collision that killed four people on an Indiana highway August 3 occurred during an attempt to pass another vehicle, according to an update by authorities.
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and her 28-year-old communications director, Emma Thomson, were in a silver Toyota RAV4 SUV driven by campaign manager Zachery Potts, 27. A statement from Elkhart County Sheriff Jeff Siegel the day after the accident stated the SUV driven by Potts had crossed the center line before colliding with a maroon Buick LeSabre driven by Edith Schmucker, 59.
There were no survivors of the motor vehicle accident, the sheriff reported.
A witness travelling north behind the congresswoman’s SUV observed her silver Toyota slow down, seeming to create distance between the SUV and a truck in front of it. The RAV4 then accelerated to a high velocity which rapidly closed the gap with the truck in front.
“As the Toyota neared the rear of the truck, it swerved into the southbound lane, where it collided with the southbound Buick driven by Schmucker,” the sheriff said, according to a Kokomo Tribune report
“Evidence from the crash reconstruction, including detailed data from the airbag control module (often referred to as the “black box”), showed that the Toyota was traveling at a speed of 82 MPH, approximately five seconds prior to the crash,” Siegel explained. “In addition, it showed that the vehicle’s motor was at idle speed, showing that the vehicle was “coasting,” with speed reducing to 77 MPH, milliseconds prior to airbag deployment.”
“The airbag control module data also showed that the driver of the Toyota RAV4 steered the vehicle left just prior to the crash,” the sheriff continued. “The amount of steering input was consistent with normal operation of the vehicle and was consistent with the eyewitness account.”
The report noted the investigation found no evidence of mechanical failure or use of cell phones before the accident.
“The at-fault vehicle was the Toyota RAV4 driven by Zachery Potts,” the sheriff stated, according to the Fox report.
Elkhart County Coroner Mervin Miller determined that Thomson, Potts and Schmucker’s causes of death were multiple injuries due to automobile striking automobile.
Walorski’s death was caused by dislocation of the cervical spine due to automobile striking automobile, the coroner declared, according to the report.
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