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Driver sentenced for 2011 collision
Under influence of drugs at time of wreck
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Forsyth County News

A driver responsible for causing a 2011 head-on collision while under the influence of drugs was sentenced Tuesday to spend four years in prison.

In issuing the sentence, Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Philip Smith accepted a negotiated plea from James Jordan, 23, of Roswell in what he called a “tragic case” that has taken a toll on two families.

The injured driver in the case was 17 when she was struck by Jordan, who said in court Tuesday morning that he was reaching into the back seat for a shirt when he crossed the centerline.

The collision broke the teen’s arm and her jaw in three places. In a letter read during the plea agreement, she wrote that she had attended her junior prom with a cast and her jaw wired shut.

Now in college, she said when she looks in a mirror, she must relive the memories with “a face that is distorted.” 

As part of the plea, Jordan, through his father, will pay $5,980 in restitution to the other driver so she can get braces to fix the teeth that were damaged by her jaw injury.

In addition, Jordan will spend the other six years of the 10-year sentence on probation after serving his sentence. He must perform 120 hours of community service and pay a $2,000 fine for each of the two counts of serious injury by vehicle and driving under the influence of drugs.

On the morning of April 22, 2011, Jordan said he had left a methadone clinic, where he was seeking help for a heroin addiction. He then used cocaine before driving a friend to the courthouse later that night.

“I know saying I’m sorry is pretty stupid, but I feel what I’ve done is dumb,” Jordan said. “I’ve done a lot of things ... to change my life.”

Jordan’s attorney, Stephen Friedberg, said his client has shown addictive behavior with drugs since age 14. Though he’s made progress at certain points, he’s always taken backwards steps. The situation has been “extremely difficult,” but he believes Jordan is on the right path.

Jordan is close to finishing a culinary school, where he’s studying to become a chef. He holds a steady job at a restaurant and does community service several hours a week, Friedberg said.

Flanked by his parents, Jordan accepted his sentence from the judge, who told him “you need to be grateful to your parents for standing by you.”

“They are irreplaceable,” he said. “They paid a price.”