Brad Jones of Green has two 12-inch rods in his back and a device in his spine where a disc burst and no longer exists. A stiff brace wrapped around his middle serves as a reminder of his injuries, which included a back broken in five places.
“This accident has affected our lives more than you will ever know,” Jones, 50, said. “It’s affected us right down to the bone.”
Jones and his wife, Kyra, 43, were involved in a motorcycle crash Memorial Day weekend in south-central Oregon. Aside from the daily physical pain the couple bear, they are also faced with daunting medical bills, which have reached $350,000 and continue to mount.
Sandra Haynes attends Roseburg Seventh-day Adventist Church with the Joneses and has organized a Nov. 9 benefit auction for the family.
“I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘We need to do more for this couple,’” Haynes said.
Details about the accident remain fresh in Brad Jones’ mind.
It was the tail end of a holiday weekend getaway. The Joneses and three Medford couples were returning home from a camping trip in Idaho. The avid biker and his wife had taken many such trips, with camping gear strapped to their 2010 Harley Davidson Street Glide.
After an overnight stay in Burns, they awoke to dismal weather.
“I even remember posting on Facebook, ‘Oh great, rain. Yippee. Pray for us,’” Kyra Jones said.
Despite the conditions, the group headed home, driving south on U.S. Highway 395 toward Christmas Valley. Brad Jones said the two-lane roadway had tar-filled cracks, a biker’s nightmare.
“That day, it was rainy, it was windy, we ran into that slick stuff,” he said. “That particular day the elements were not in our favor.”
Jones, with his wife sitting behind him, reached a curve and started to slip. They recall they were traveling 50 to 60 mph.
“I moved to the outside of the road, but I went too far and got into the soft rock, sunk in and fishtailed 200 feet,” Jones said. “Last minute, I decided to go over the edge. I fishtailed and turned my bike to the right.”
Jones was flung over the front of his Harley, flipped and hit the ground twice on his back. Kyra Jones was flung 10 feet and fell on her left wrist, which she shattered. She fractured the right wrist.
Aside from his back injuries, Brad Jones suffered three broken ribs, a broken breastbone and a collapsed lung.
It took nearly two hours for help to arrive at the distant site. The Joneses were taken by helicopter to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.
Brad Jones spent four days in the intensive care unit before being moved to recovery. He was discharged June 6. His wife was released after two days.
The couple are slowly healing, but are struggling with the financial burden caused by the accident.
“We have September taken care of, but I don’t know what we will do for October,” Jones said.
Jones was drawing unemployment benefits at the time of the crash. Now that he is unemployable because of his injuries, he is no longer eligible for that assistance. Kyra Jones has a part-time job as a medical assistant. She has medical insurance, but it’s far from enough, she said.
An outpouring of help began immediately after the accident. Jones said his bike repairman, Dan Rice, who had come across the crash site, assisted getting Jones’ Harley back to Roseburg and fixed. Other help has come from relatives, including children Ayla, 18, and Josh, 22. Church parishioners and members of Jones’ motorcycle club, the Shadows, also have helped out.
“We didn’t know, finance-wise, what we were going to do, but God has helped us,” Jones said.
Donations for the benefit auction can be dropped off in the Joneses’ name between noon and 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays at the former Indian Lanes Bowling Alley, 1028 N.E. Stephens St. Furniture, lamps, decorative items and garden tools are among the acceptable donations.
“I don’t like to take handouts, but when they started helping, it made me want to pay it forward,” Kyra Jones said. “That’s what I’m taking out of this whole experience. When we get on our feet we want to be able to help others.”
•You can reach reporter Christina George at 541-957-4202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.