Jordan Wieda had big plans for his future.
A log cabin that he would build himself, because he wanted to make sure it was done right. A new job at POND engineering firm in New Baden that he had only started a week before.
He always sang “I’m Gonna Be Somebody,” by Travis Tritt at karaoke — but only the chorus because he never remembered the rest of the words. He wanted to be someone, someday.
“But what he didn’t know he was somebody for a lot of people,” said Hailey Russell, Wieda’s girlfriend of nine months. “His future was so bright. He was so intelligent; that man could do anything.”
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So when the 25-year-old St. Jacob man was killed in a car crash Saturday night, Wieda’s family and friends were devastated. Wieda, Russell, Russell’s little brother Garrett and Chris Oltman, one of Wieda’s friends, were driving on Illinois 162 Saturday night when Wieda lost control of the vehicle and rolled off the roadway.
A witness told police they saw the driver going at a high rate of speed and driving erratically, but Russell, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the crash, said that was not the case. She said Wieda had been trying to pass another car on the road and he went over too far and wasn’t able to correct the path of the car, and it spun out.
Wieda, both Russells and Oltman were all thrown out of the car in the crash, and all were injured. Police do not know yet if they were wearing seatbelts. When Russell woke up, she saw her brother trying to get Jordan to wake up. They started praying right there for their friend.
Russell ended up with two broken vertebrae, cuts and bruises and heavy swelling on the right side of her body. Her brother, Garrett Russell, broke his collar bone, and has a lot of cuts. Oltman broke his pelvis and eye socket, and isn’t able to walk.
“It’s hard; it’s really hard,” Russell said. “My heart hurts the most out of all of it.”
The months she’d spent in a relationship with Wieda were “the best nine months of my life,” and Russell said she had more fun with him than anyone else.
Wieda was in the U.S. Navy, but moved home to be closer to his family, Russell said. He was an active man, never wanting to stay home and do nothing. He enjoyed outdoor activities like mudding, shooting guns, fishing and camping.
He was a kid at heart, Russell said.
“There was never a dull moment with that boy,” she said. “He was the most kind-hearted, hard-working person I’ve ever met.”
Illinois State Police was still investigating the crash Tuesday afternoon. The family is raising money to cover Wieda’s funeral costs, and you can donate to the GoFundMe.
The Madison County Coroner’s Office will conduct a toxicology test of Wieda, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Roger D. Smith.