A Biloxi man was driving his friend to the hospital for burns to his hands when the fatal crash happened.
Richard Schultz, 36, was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison, with 17 years suspended, and three years to serve in prison for felony DUI casing the death of Gerald “Little Jerry” Jordan Jr., 42, of Biloxi.
Judge Dale Harkey called the case one of the most “tragic” he’s handled before he handed down the sentence and ordered Schultz to pay $5,000 in restitution plus fines.
Schultz was legally drunk when he was involved in the Feb. 28, 2015, crash that killed Jordan.
He, Jordan and other friends had been partying on some property in Vancleave, where they all planned to stay for the night instead of driving.
But after Jordan fell in a bonfire and burned his hands, he turned to Schultz for help.
“Jerry was like a big brother to me,” Schultz told the judge. “I didn’t even think. He (Jordan) asked me to take him to the hospital and I didn’t even blink. I just said let’s go.”
Schultz said he was sorry for taking Jordan away from his family, from “everybody.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m sorry for it every single day.
“Everybody tells you not to drink and drive but they don’t tell you what to do when your friend asks you to take them to the hospital,” he said. “Jerry is a victim. I’m not the victim. I just made a quick decision. I made the wrong one.”
Jordan’s family asked the courts to remember who was the true victim of the crime because at times, they said they felt like Schultz was being made out to be the victim.
Jordan’s family said they never wanted Schultz to spend the rest of his life in prison, but they did want him to be held accountable.
They described Jordan as a loving father, grandfather and grandson who loved to give back to his community.
“Jerry was well known in the community,” his aunt, Rhonda Jordan said. “He had an outstanding reputation, and just the impact it’s had on my family is almost too much to bear. It has been 1,472 days of grieving for our family. We will forever miss him. We ask the courts to give our family closure today.”
A graduate of Mercy Cross High School, Jordan was owner of Jordan Electric and worked as an electrician at Biloxi public schools.
In addition, he was a member of the Ole Biloxi Marching Club and the Elks Lodge of Biloxi.
Schultz is a military veteran and electrician who had been talking to Jordan about the two of them going into business together.