Motorcycle crash leaves metro veteran severely injured, claims life of beloved dog ‘General’

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A local veteran remains in a medically-induced coma, two weeks after a bad motorcycle crash.

The family of Michael Jones, 60, of Excelsior Springs says he broke nearly every bone in his body. His family is keeping a close watch on his critical state.

Jones, an active motorcycle enthusiast is grasping for his life. He's been a patient at Overland Park Regional Medical Center since September 17th. That's when Jones and his dog, General, were riding to Texas on Jones’ Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Jones lost control of his bike on I-435 in Wyandotte County. Jones was nearly killed in the accident. General didn't survive.

Jones and the dog were so inseparable, friends gave Michael the nickname “General’s Driver.” Jones' daughter, Amanda Schwartz, says she was in shock when police told her about her dad's wreck.

“I don't want to leave the hospital. I don't want to leave my dad,” Schwartz told FOX 4 News.

Schwartz says Jones' left side took most of the impact. Doctors say he's in critical condition with multiple broken ribs and vertebrae as well as bleeding on his brain.

“He doesn't know how loved he is by all. He needs to know that everyone loves him,” Schwartz said.

Jones rides that Harley everywhere. Family members say he and General have ridden over 200,000 miles, leading groups of Vietnam veterans to the memorials in our nation's capital. Schwartz says her father is also active in charity motorcycle events that help raise money for various civic groups.

General rode in a pouch on Michael's chest, and was crushed by the impact of the wreck. Schwartz believes that may have saved her father from death.

“I personally believe that if General hadn't been there, my dad wouldn't be here with us right now,” Schwartz said.

Roger Mead, Jones' friend, and has helped manage hundreds of get-well cards that have poured in, many of which have come from out-of-state elementary school students who have met Jones and General during those cross-country rides.

“They're hurting as bad as the family is. Right now, everyone needs to pray for Michael and for the groups he's involved in,” Mead said.

“We never thought we would have to experience anything like this,” Schwartz said.

In fact, the family emphasized they're not interested in cash donations at this time. Schwartz told FOX 4 News what her family really needs is support from the public, and prayers as doctors fight to save his life.

Jones is scheduled to have surgery on Friday to insert a plate into his chest. Doctors say that will help support his ribs and alleviate the pain his body is feeling.