British Columbia

After 3 decades in a coma, Victoria police officer passes away

Const. Ian Jordan was injured in an on-duty crash early in the morning of Sept. 22, 1987.

Const. Ian Jordan was injured in an on-duty car crash in 1987

Const. Ian Jordan had been in a coma since 1987. (CBC)

A Victoria police officer who has been in a coma since a car crash in 1987 died this week after a number of close calls over the years, according to those close to him.

Const. Ian Jordan was seriously injured in an on-duty car collision with another police vehicle on Sept. 22, 1987, according to the Victoria Police Department.

Jordan was responding to an alarm at a stereo store on Fort Street at the time, and collided with a second VicPD car at the intersection of Douglas and Fisgard streets. He was 35 years old at the time.

Jordan's widow Hilary Jordan said that his death was unexpected, but that it had always been in the back of her mind that he could pass at anytime.

"I'm very sad but for Ian's sake I'm relieved because his 30 year struggle is over and he's at peace. I know he's in a good place, because he was a very good person," she said.

"I just want Ian to be remembered as the kind compassionate person that he was and for his dedication to the Victoria Police Department and the general population in Victoria."

Jordan is survived by his son Mark, who was 16 months old at the time of the accident.

Hilary said when she would talk to Jordan about Mark his eyes would flutter — and she took that as an indication he was aware she was there.

A 2010 article in the police magazine Blue Line recounted the accident that eventually killed Const. Ian Jordan. (Blue Line)

Friend recounts collision

The officer in the second vehicle was one of his closest friends, now-retired Sgt. Ole Jorgensen.

The surviving officer was also injured in the collision and remembered Jordan in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.

"He was an enthusiastic, hard-working cop who was just a nice all-around guy. Loved what he did, loved being a police officer and you couldn't ask for a nicer guy," Jorgensen said.

Family and friends had been prepared for Jordan's death after a few close calls with pneumonia, Jorgensen added.

"Five years ago, it looked like he was going to pass away. We kind of were ready for it," he said.

Jordan was responding to an alarm at a stereo store on Fort Street at the time, and collided with a second VicPD car at the intersection of Douglas and Fisgard streets. (CHEK News)

Earlier on the night of the crash, Jorgensen and Jordan had met for coffee.

"Ian was usually my backup. Every time that I would get a call, it seemed that Ian would be right there," said Jorgensen, who was working in the canine unit at the time.

When the fateful call came in, he believed his friend had already finished work for the night.

Jordan had already had a rough shift that night, according to a 2010 article in the policing magazine Blue Line. He'd been injured when he was pushed down the stairs of a local nightclub.

As it turned out, Jordan was at police headquarters, getting ready to go home, but he nevertheless decided to respond to the call.

"He left the police station going east on Fisgard, I was going south on Douglas, and I never expected him to be at that intersection at the same time I was at that intersection. I don't think he did either," Jorgensen recalled.

Jorgensen said he's visited Jordan regularly in the years since the crash, bringing news from the outside world.

"We were always hopeful that there would be a change in him. I'm kind of lost for words as to how to describe that feeling. It was sad to go and visit him," Jorgensen said.

In a notice last fall marking the 30th anniversary of the collision, VicPD said that Jordan's decision to continue working "showed his commitment to his job and his dedication to his community."

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said Jordan's death is a reminder of "the ultimate sacrifice he has made."

Manak said he'd remained in touch with Jordan's family for years and that while he did not know him personally, he'd visited him in hospital many times.

"At the end of the day, he is a part of our Victoria police department family," he said.

A VicPD plaque was installed in Jordan's hospital room last year.

Police say the crash resulted in changes to the traffic light controls on Douglas Street. According to the Blue Line article, the dispatcher had arranged to have the traffic lights red in both directions at the time of the crash.

The incident also prompted the formation of the department's trauma team, which assists members and staff after traumatic incidents.

The police department is planning a funeral with full police honours for Jordan. 

With files from Liz McArthur