Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told Newsmax he was "devastated" when he learned that his colleague, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was killed in a car crash Wednesday.
"I was devastated," Donalds said during "Prime News" on Wednesday. "I was on my way to another event when one of my staff members called me. This really struck everybody on Capitol Hill and everybody in the political environment. Jackie was a tremendous member of our caucus, and for her to just so abruptly be taken from us is a tragedy for her family. There's also a tragedy for the nation. I think there are bigger things than just politics and shows that life is short."
Walorski, 58, and two of her aides, Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, were killed when their car crashed head-on with a sports utility vehicle around 12:30 p.m. on State Road 19 in Elkhart County, Indiana, according to the sheriff's office.
The driver of the SUV, identified as Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Indiana, also died in the crash, police said.
"Jackie was an instrumental member of our conference, serving as a member of my deputy whip team for several years," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said in a statement to The New York Times. "Jackie and her staffers died serving her constituents. They will be missed, and our nation will miss their service."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told The Times that Walorski was "admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness" and that she was ordering the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in her honor.
The White House issued a similar order for its flags, according to the article.
"We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues," The Times reported President Joe Biden said in a statement, "but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee."
Donalds said when things like this happen, you want to stay close to your family.
"You just want to make sure you're around your family, your loved ones," he said. "You want to live life to the fullest because nothing is promised to you. I know my heartfelt prayers go out to her husband and to her family."
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