The Hamilton Spectator
Man sentenced to five years for fatal hit-and-run
Thomas Jordan was also handed a 10-year driving ban in connection to the September 2021 collision near Gage Park
A Hamilton man who fled from the scene of a fatal collision near Gage Park will spend time behind bars.
Thomas Jordan was handed a five-year prison term and a 10-year driving ban March 10 for driving recklessly and blowing past a stop sign before the fatal crash at Balsam and Maplewood avenues that claimed the life of a woman more than a year ago.
It comes about three months after the 42-year-old pleaded guilty to dangerous operation causing death and possession of stolen property over $5,000 in connection to the September 2021 collision.
Ontario Court Justice Joe Fiorucci said the plea was a mitigating factor in the sentence jointly submitted by Crown and defence attorneys, largely because it showed remorse and saved significant trial time.
But the sentence should serve as a message to people who drive recklessly, Fiorucci stressed, adding no amount of time will heal the “deep sense of loss, numbness, grief, betrayal and anger” borne by the victim’s family members.
“His excessive rate of speed culminated in the loss of an innocent life,” Fiorucci said of Jordan. “The offences have had a significant effect on the victim’s family, and the devastation of the death is immeasurable. Their lives have been altered forever.”
Court heard Jordan was minutes removed from a crash near King Street East and Gage Avenue South when he headed south on Balsam at high speed in a stolen, black GMC Sierra.
As he blew through a stop sign on Maplewood, he rammed into a westbound Hyundai. The Hyundai, which was mangled in the crash, “spun more than 180 degrees and struck two parked cars,” according to an agreed statement of facts. Its driver, a 52-year-old mother of three, was taken to hospital in critical condition and died within the hour.
The GMC, meanwhile, skidded onto a front lawn. Jordan left it there and fled on foot. He was arrested months later after a forensic report found DNA left on the GMC’s airbag was a match for Jordan.
Court heard eight emotional victim impact statements at sentencing. Together, they painted a picture of a fractured family, still unable to grip with the ripple effects of an immeasurable loss brought on solely by careless behaviour.
“I’m simply not the person I was,” the victim’s sister, who The Spectator is not naming out of respect for the family, tearfully said in court. “Some days are better than others, but on the days when I picture my sister dying in a car while the person responsible left her to die, I struggle deeply and emotionally, retreating to my room to cry until I can’t cry anymore.”
“I hesitate using the word accident because this was not an accident — it was the result of a deliberate, incomprehensible act, perpetrated by someone who’s a complete stranger to all of us,” added the victim’s longtime partner.
The victim, who became a grandmother shortly before her death, was described as a constant figure in the lives of family and friends. Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her mid-30s, she was always on the go and extremely sociable, loving and genuine.
“She would often leave me notes and cards out of the blue, for no other reason than to say I love you,” added her partner. “She would leave them on my computer desk, on my dresser, in my truck, my lunch box, wherever.”
“She was there for me through every hardship and success,” said her son.
Given the chance to address the court at sentencing, Jordan apologized to the victim’s family, saying he was struggled with drug abuse at the time of the collision and never intended to kill.
“I had no intention for the events to turn out that way,” he said. “I made a few bad decisions that day, but I want everyone to know it was out of fear and I panicked.”