“Please slow down everybody and don’t take one minute of this life for granted.”
This is the advice from one of snowboarding’s first true stars who was involved in a fatal car accident last month near Auburn, California. Although seriously injured, his words should be a life lesson to all of us.
43-year old Kevin Jones, winner of nine X Games medals and named the industry’s Rider of the Year three consecutive seasons, was driving his truck southbound on U.S. Highway 49 as 55-year-old Arthur Blankenship tried to turn onto 49, pulling in front of Jones, whose Ford F-150 struck Blankenship’s Mercury. Unfortunately, Blankenship was pronounced dead at the scene, which Jones didn’t take lightly as he addressed the accident in a social media post on Instagram:
“This is not the way I thought it would happen,” Jones wrote. “I thought I would be doing something ‘dangerous.’ Anybody who knows me knows I hate driving. My worst nightmare (well close to) happened Monday morning when a gentleman pulled out in front of me at 5:30 a.m. while on my way to work. I escaped with a broken c6 in my neck only millimeters from my spine. The other gentleman was not so lucky. I pray for his family.”
Jones, who’s now a father, suffered a broken bone in his neck but it sounds as if he’ll recover. A fantastic talent and supremely influential in the sport, he has become disenchanted in recent years with what he feels snowboarding has become–transforming from a grassroots pursuit into a mainstream, athletic extravaganza, explains theinertia.com:
“Next thing you know, there’s an X-Games commercial on and your face is on that thing and you can’t stop it because now you’re in the system. I hate it,” he said last year. “I hate what it’s done to my life. I hate what it’s done to the people around me. I hate that the industry has created an aquarium for people to get famous…I’m sorry about being snowboarding’s first super-pro.”