Felicia Jordan says she got a last-second warning from her husband, “Big Kenny” Jordan, just before their Harley-Davidson collided with a van crossing in front of them.
“Big Kenny, he had enough time, and we knew each other so well that he was able to look at me and tell me we were going to hit, it was going to hurt like hell but to hold on as tight as I could,” Felicia said.
Felicia survived the crash on March 4 in St. Clair County near Fairview Heights but her husband died in a hospital shortly after the collision.
She credits “Big Kenny” with saving her life.
“They said I ducked my head behind his back and I like bear wrapped him,” she said from her hospital room where she is recovering from multiple broken bones.
“And I truly believe that if it wasn’t for Kenny, I wouldn’t have made it either. He took all of the impact basically and protected and shielded me.
“I truly believe that Kenny sacrificed himself … so I could be here for our kids. I’m 125 pounds … it’s a miracle that I made it through it.”
Felicia said the crash happened just after the couple and other motorcyclists had left the Generation Church – Metro East following the celebration of life ceremony for her 53-year-old brother, Jesse Powell III, who died on Feb. 8 after being injured in a crash on Jan. 31 on an icy road.
The Jordans had only traveled south on Illinois 159 about a mile from the church at 7517 N. Illinois St. when their crash occurred.
Kenneth J. Jordan, 49, of Lenzburg was driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle south on Illinois 159 when the driver of a Nissan van failed to yield and entered an intersection in front of Jordan at about 2:38 p.m. Saturday, March 4, according to preliminary information released by the Illinois State Police. The Harley-Davidson collided with the rear passenger side of the van.
The northbound van was attempting to turn left onto East O’Fallon Drive, which is known as Milburn School Road on the east side of Illinois 159, police said.
The driver of the van, John Pense, 79, of Collinsville, was charged with failure to yield turning left, according to Illinois State Police.
The Jordans were taken to St. Louis University Hospital with serious injuries while Pense was treated for minor injuries, police said.
Waiting for his wife
Felicia, 47, said her husband arrived at the hospital before her.
“They said that he held on for an hour,” she said. “I had been here for five or 10 minutes and that’s when he finally let go.
“They truly believe he waited until I was here.”
Felicia is getting help from her daughter, son and a large circle of friends as she recuperates from a litany of injuries.
She suffered fractures in her left ankle, right leg and right ankle, left shoulder blade, right elbow and upper arm and in her lower back.
“I’m not going to be able to walk for quite some time,” she said. “All I have is my left arm that I can do anything with.”
She hopes to be able to put weight on her legs in two months.
In looking back at her brother’s death and then her husband’s death and the devastation caused by the crashes, she said with a crack in her voice, “It’s been a tough two months.”
A GoFundMe fundraising page has been established to help the Jordan family.
The Jordans first met when Felicia was 13 and Kenny was 16.
They shared a saying: “224210, which means 2 hearts 2gether 4ever 2 make 10derlove.”
Felicia said she called Kenny her “Big Teddy Bear.”
The family plans to hold a celebration of life ceremony for Kenny once Felicia is able to get out of the hospital, even if she is using a wheelchair to get around.
For now, she has Kenny’s cremains in an urn on a shelf in her hospital room.
Felicia said her husband, who had worked in landscaping but was on disability after back surgery, always wanted to help others.
She described an example of what she meant:
Ten years ago, they began taking care of a 2-month-old boy and were appointed guardian of the now 10-year-old Rylan Maney.
“He’s our baby,” Felicia said.
Felicia also said she and her husband would give aid to people in need in St. Louis.
“We would drive over to see where the homeless were,” she said. “We’d let them pick out any clothes or blankets or whatever they needed.”
“He was a very giving man,” she said. “He would help anyone. It didn’t matter, he didn’t judge anyone.”