“I pulled up behind the DPS trooper and I said, ‘Please tell me it wasn’t my son.’ My county commissioner, Kelly Traylor, turned around and told the officer, ‘His mother’s here.’ And I knew it was him,” Mrs. Jones said.
Mrs. Jones said that the motorcycle was on fire, but Dustin was thrown from his bike and killed instantly.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, intersections are particularly risky areas for serious crashes involving motorcycles. From 2010 to 2015, 25 percent of crashes involving motorcycles occurred when one vehicle turned left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, likely due to the driver not seeing the oncoming motorcycle.
Motorcycle crashes also are more severe than other types of crashes because motorcycles lack the protective and safety features of other vehicles, according to TxDOT.
Dustin’s funeral was held on Sept. 25 at Trails to Christ Cowboy Church. Over 300 bikers attended the service.
“Dustin was very involved in the community,” his father Johnny Jones said. “He was involved heavily in the CoC (Council of Clubs); he was on the Chamber of Commerce in Jacksonville.”
His mother added, “For someone who was 26 at the time and fixing to be 27, he was doing a lot.”
In the days after his death, Dustin’s friends in the motorcycle community stepped up to help his grieving family. They held fundraisers and paid for the engraved headstone that rests at Providence Cemetery in Jacksonville.
“Everyone’s given us road names,” Johnny Jones said. “Mama Peggy and Papa John.”
Dustin’s road name, “Reserve,” came from an incident when he ran out of gas.
“He called his friends to ask them to come give him some gas,” Mrs. Jones said, “His friend replied, ‘Did you turn on the reserve tank?’ He goes, ‘the what?’ The friend said, ‘There’s a reserve tank and it’s full; all you do is switch the deal.’ From that moment on they never let him live it down that he didn’t know he had a reserve tank in his bike. We ragged him for the longest time, and the name stuck.”
This spring, Dustin’s parents teamed up with Pastor Earl Woody Woodward of Ironhorse Biker Church in Kilgore for a special Motorcycle Awareness Month church service.
The service honored those who were killed or injured while riding their bikes.
Woodward, 74, has been the chaplain of COC&I (The Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents) for about six years, and pastor of Ironhorse Biker Church for five years. The Confederation of Clubs and Independents (COC&I) is made up of members of area motorcycle clubs, motorcycle ministries, riding groups and independent riders. Their aim is to work together to preserve the rights of motorcyclists.
In May, Woodward was joined by bikers at 40 city council and county commissioners meetings to have government leaders read a proclamation for Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. The bikers came with neon signs that read “Can you see me now?” and “Share the Road.”
“We covered the Region 9 area,” Woodward said. “From Dallas to Shreveport, and from Gilmer to Nacogdoches. The motorcycle community is extremely patriotic in wanting to help and serve in any way they can.”
On the National Day of Prayer in May, the group met at Tyler’s downtown square, T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza, to ask for prayers for those whose lives are put at risk on the road.
After Dustin’s death, the Bad Decisions members had to make a decision about the future of their club. They decided to stay together, although the current membership is down to six. Thomas “Sarge” Denson became the new president and new prospects moved up in their ranks.
On a recent September night, the club members met for their weekly Thursday night meal — a tradition started by Dustin. Over plates of brisket, deviled eggs, beans, rice and cake, they reminisced about meeting Dustin, losing him, the club’s future and motorcycle safety. Each member has a new patch on their vests in memory of Dustin “Reserve” Jones.
“This has literally been a year of heartache and tears,” Denson said, adding that Dustin’s death was only the beginning in a string of fatal motorcycle wrecks. Denson said he has lost seven friends, and the next six months he’ll be busy attending memorial rides and parties.
Darin “Uncle” Giesler was a prospect at the time of Dustin’s death. He remembers the first night they met.
“There wasn’t a day after that night that he didn’t call me brother. The man oozed charisma.”
Becoming a prospect is an initial stage in becoming a full member of a motorcycle club. Prospects learn about the club, run errands and help out members wherever needed.
“It’s straight from Dustin’s mouth, you never stop prospecting,” Denson said. “You never stop serving your brothers.”
Work is underway to build a clubhouse in Troup to continue Dustin’s vision for the club.
Kelly “Ratchet” Harris talked about the image of motorcycle clubs being aggressive or violent.
“The aggression is about disrespect, that’s not unique to the motorcycle community, but our aggression is toward someone running us off the road,” Harris said.
They each have stories of bad drivers and wrecks that almost happened. The group blames many accidents on texting and driving.
Denson still thinks about how Dustin died. He didn’t wear a helmet and was ejected dozens of feet from the wreck site, but Denson said the aftermath looked like he flew through the air and “was set down by angels.”
“I keep going through the physics of it in my mind, and he should have landed on his face,” Denson said.
Dustin had an open casket.
“In a wreck, it’s rarely an open casket,” Harris added.
As the one year anniversary of the fatal accident approaches, the Jones family is organizing a memorial ride. Over the summer, Johnny Jones bought a motorcycle and started riding again as a tribute to his son — something he hadn’t done since his 30s. Now 66, Jones and Bexley will lead an upcoming memorial ride to honor Dustin. The route will pass by the crash site and make a stop at the cemetery.
“There might be a few tears shed,” Johnny Jones said, “It will be emotional, but we will be humbled and honored at the same time to have our brothers on wheels join us.”
Mrs. Jones made T-shirts for the memorial ride with an image of Dustin when he first became a biker and the words, “To the world he was just a biker, but to us he was our world.”