The Chester County Democratic Committee was reeling Sunday over the death of Adam Swope, an activist described as a "major, major player" in the organization who was killed Saturday in a fiery crash on Route 202 in Chester County involving nine vehicles, including a tractor-trailer.
"It's absolutely tragic," said Brian McGinnis, chairman of the Chester County Democratic Committee. "He was an unbelievable person and one of the best, most brilliant political minds I've ever met."
Swope, 38, of Malvern, was chair of the Willistown/Malvern Democrats and executive assistant to Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, who is now a candidate for lieutenant governor. She met Swope in 2005 when he managed her campaign for county controller and "orchestrated an unprecedented 48.19 percent of the vote that year," Cozzone wrote in a tribute posted Sunday afternoon on the Chester County Democratic Committee's Facebook page.
"Words cannot describe the loss to this world of a man so incredibly bright and kind and funny," Cozzone said, adding that second only to her husband, Swope knew her best. "He knew before I did how I would react or feel about a situation."
Cozzone described Swope, son to Kathy and Bob Swope of Reading, and a graduate of West Chester and Villanova Universities, as "an eternal optimist who loved his parents, his Nana, cats, the Steelers, Game of Thrones, his fraternity, musicals, weird strategy games, Super Mario, Sunny in Philadelphia, the Daily Show, and politics."
"Our hearts," Cozzone said, "are broken."
Just last week, Swope was rejoicing with party officials at the Social Lounge in West Chester over what McGinnis called "historic" victories in Tuesday's election. That included Democratic candidates winning election to four countywide offices: clerk of courts, controller, coroner, and treasurer.
"He was instrumental in our success this year," McGinnis said of Swope. "We're going to somehow have to try to fill that void, and I don't know how we are going to do it."
Similar sentiment was expressed on the Chester County Democratic Committee's website by Dick Bingham, chair of the CCDC Zone Leader Caucus.
"I am extremely saddened to report that Adam Swope, Zone Leader, Zone 16 [Malvern and Willistown], died yesterday in a tragic automobile accident," Bingham wrote. "Few details are available at this time, but I am sure I speak for us all when I say how shocking and devastating this news is. Adam will be truly missed by us all."
Also posted there was this tribute by the Chester County Democratic Committee: "Adam has been a hero among activists and organizers."
According to a report issued Sunday afternoon by West Goshen Township Police, Swope was killed when his vehicle, traveling south on Route 202, was struck by a northbound tractor-trailer carrying frozen turkeys that had overturned onto the southbound lanes near South Matlack Street and caught fire shortly before 12:30 p.m. Police did not disclose what kind of vehicle Swope was driving or any additional details about the accident, including whether charges are likely.
Police reported "several minor to moderate injuries" along with Swope's death. They are asking anyone who witnessed the crash or has video or photographs of it to contact the West Goshen Police Department Traffic Safety Division at 610-696-7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.