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Caroline Choi, Turton’s friend and a co-worker at Progress Energy, was too choked up to comment. Brian Wolff, a lobbyist at Edison Electric Institute and close friend, said, “She was just a gift. It’s such a loss for everyone. So many people knew and loved her.”
Police were still investigating the incident as of press time. “This could be just a tragic freak accident,” Metropolitan Police Lt. Nicholas Breul said. “And that’s why we’re crossing our i’s and dotting our t’s because it is a little freaky, and we need to figure out why. But there is no indication now that there was any crime.”
Turton’s neighbors were in mourning following the news. Julie Domenick, a lobbyist who lives on the Turtons’ Eastern Market block, said, “I, of course, was aware of Ashley’s impressive professional legacy, but I also knew Ashley as a charming, spectacular, neighborhood mom who herded her three adorable, curious young children ... with great skill and even more love.”
As a Raleigh, N.C., native, Turton worked in Tar Heel State politics early in her career. She held positions with then-Gov. Jim Hunt (D) and then-Attorney General Mike Easley (D) before moving to the District, where she took a job with then-Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).
Turton began her stint with DeLauro in April 2000 as a press secretary. She advanced to leadership aide and floor assistant three years later and senior policy adviser in 2004 before being promoted to chief of staff in March 2005.
In September 2007, she left DeLauro’s office to join Progress Energy’s Washington, D.C., office. “Ashley was a valued employee whose insight and hard work had been critical on so many of our legislative and regulatory issues,” Bill Johnson, Progress Energy president and CEO, said in a statement.
According to some reports, Turton was scheduled to fly out of the District Monday, presumably to participate in the announcement of her company’s $13.7 billion merger with Duke Energy Corp.
She is survived by her husband, Dan, 43, twin 4-year-olds and a 2-year-old.
Jessica Brady contributed to this report.