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Elkhart Co. Sheriff’s Office concludes investigation into Walorski crash

(Photo Supplied/Rep. Jackie Walorski)

The final report on the August 3 crash that took the life of Representative  Jackie Walorski and three others has been released.

From the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office:

September 16, 2022
Re: Media Release-Fatal Crash Final Update

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office has concluded the investigation into the crash that occurred on August 3rd, 2022 on ST RD 19 south of CO RD 44 in which four people died.
Our investigation has determined that the cause of the crash was driving left of center with a contributing factor of excessive speed. The at-fault vehicle was the Toyota RAV4 driven by Zachery Potts.
It was concluded that the Toyota RAV4 was northbound on ST RD 19, south of CO RD 44, traveling behind a flat-bed truck. The witness was traveling northbound behind both the Toyota RAV4 and the unidentified truck. The Toyota was observed slowing, as what was described as creating distance between the truck and the Toyota. The Toyota was then observed accelerating to a high rate of speed, closing the distance to the unidentified truck. As the Toyota neared the rear of the truck, it swerved into the southbound lane at which it collided with the southbound Buick driven by Edith Schmucker.
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, (+/-) 4%, approximately 5 seconds prior to the crash. 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, (+/-) 4%, 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 amount of steering input was consistent with normal operation of the vehicle and was consistent with the eyewitness account.
All cell phone information was examined from all occupants of both vehicles. There is no evidence or information that phones were being used prior to or during the crash.
Inspections of the vehicles were conducted. The inspections and evidence at the scene showed no indication of mechanical failures.
All of the evidence and information gathered is consistent with someone attempting to pass another vehicle on a two-lane roadway.
The Sheriff’s Office consulted with the Indiana State Police for an independent review of the collected information and conclusions prior to this release; the conclusions being consistent with ours.


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