Former Rep. Chenoweth-Hage killed in car crash

Former Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, a controversial conservative Republican from Idaho who served three terms before declining to run for reelection in 2000, was killed in a car crash Monday, her daughter said.

Chenoweth-Hage was 68. In her six years in Congress, Chenoweth-Hage was a frequent critic of government regulations, particularly the Endangered Species Act. She once claimed that helicopter gunships landed on private property in Idaho to enforce the Act, but later acknowledged she had not actually seen that happen.

Chenoweth-Hage was a passenger in the crash, which occurred near Tonopah, Nev. The Associated Press reported that she was holding her daughter-in-law’s 5-month-old child  when both were thrown from the car. Chenoweth-Hage was pronounced dead on the scene. The infant suffered only minor injuries, and no one else was hurt in the one-car crash.

“For everyone who believes that the central role of government is to preserve the liberty of the citizens, they have lost a champion,” House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) said in a statement.