Victoria police Const. Ian Jordan died in hospital Wednesday after spending 30 years in a coma caused by his cruiser crashing into another police vehicle racing towards same call.
Retired Sgt. Ole Jorgensen vividly remembers the crash that sent his friend and colleague into a coma.
He was responding to a business alarm when Jordan’s vehicle crossed the intersection in front of him.
“I had my foot on the brake so hard and in my head I can distinctly remember I was saying, ‘Get out of the way Ian.’ But it was too late, it was a split second before I hit him that I realized he was there,” Jorgensen said.
Victoria Police said the accident resulted in the creation of a “trauma team,” which helps officers and staff after traumatic incidents, and also prompted a change in procedures for controlling traffic lights.
A funeral for Jordan with full police honours is being planned.
The officer was 35 at the time of the accident and father to a 16-month-old son.
Hilary Jordan said her husband’s death feels like deja vu.
“I feel like I’m back 30 years ago and it was just a new normal, 30 years visiting hospital every day. It’s just really part of my life now. So it just feels quite different,” she said.
“But I’m happy for Ian that his struggle is over and he’ll be at peace.”
Between the Jordan family and members of the department, she said “Ian, for 30 years, had a visit every day.”
She never remarried. Their son, Mark, is now criminal lawyer in Edmonton.
Jorgensen described Ian Jordan as a close friend who loved going on calls with him and his K-9 unit.
Earlier in their shift on Sept. 22, 1987, Jordan had been pushed down a flight of stairs when responding to a call at a nightclub, Jorgensen said, so he was supposed to be heading home.
But Jordan was a keen officer and when reports of a possible break-and-enter came in, Jorgensen said he must have decided to respond to the call instead.
In the three decades that Jordan was in a coma, Jorgensen said he visited every month. He would fill Jordan in on the goings-on of the police department — who got hired or fired — and update him on his wife and son.
“I would just tell him what was going on in our lives. Just in case. We don’t know whether he was hearing us, so, just in case (I was) keeping him up to date,” Jorgensen said.
He wasn’t alone. Police Chief Del Manak said several Victoria Police officers and staff members have visited Jordan on a regular basis, himself included.
“I found it quite humbling to be in his presence,” Manak said.
“Like most police departments, it’s a really tight-knit family. It’s a group of individuals who are committed to serving their community. This hits home the risks and dangers that our officers and staff face, who work the front lines.”
Manak said it’s hard to imagine what the family has experienced. Jordan made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and Manak said the department is consulting his family as it plans a memorial service.
“We want to make sure that there is closure, but that it’s done in a way that respects the sacrifice that Ian has made,” Manak said.
The Canadian Press