BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Jason Owens died doing what he loved; riding his Honda motorcycle. Owens was leaving work as the Food and Beverage Manager at Harrah's in Biloxi late Saturday night, when he was killed in a motorcycle crash. Family members hope the tragedy serves as a wake-up call for all drivers.
A small memorial graced the median of Highway 90 in Biloxi on Wednesday. It was placed in the exact spot where Jason Owens' life ended.
"Losing him has been unbelievably painful for us," said Owens' sister-in-law Tonalea Carbonette.
Family members say Owens had a big heart and was full of energy.
"He enjoyed everything there was to offer, traveling, food and wine," said Carbonette.
They say he loved his motorcycle. Owens was riding his bike Saturday night after coordinating all the food and equipment for the Darius Rucker concert at Harrah's. Police say the 42-year-old was traveling near Oak Street when he swerved to avoid a car. He lost control, flew off his bike and hit a palm tree.
"When he left he was genuinely happy. It means so much to me. We said good bye and I said, 'I love you and be careful.' So I wouldn't change a thing about the last time I saw him," said Tara Owens, who is an Assistant Manager at Magnolia House restaurant at Harrah's. "We were so close. We just loved doing everything together. It's going to be hard."
They were married for five years. Tara said her husband was always geared-up from head to toe and he promoted bike safety every chance he got. She hopes her husband's death will serve as a reminder for all drivers to be more aware of bikers on the road.
"If this helps anyone at all to be more cautious and more careful and save a life, I wouldn't want this for anyone," said Tara.
Members of his motorcycle group the "Lost Boys" are just as shocked.
"He's almost the most cautious of us all. So it was kind of ridiculous to hear that he was in a wreck," said his friend Paul Case.
Case said after the crash, it was hard getting back on his motorcycle.
"He meant a lot to all of us. One thing that he wouldn't want us to do is to be sad, sell our bikes, give up riding or anything like that. So that's one of the best ways for us as riders is to carry on," said Case.
That's what they did Wednesday afternoon. The "Lost Boys" took a memorial ride down Beauvoir Road to attend Owens' funeral. It was a touching, final salute to their riding buddy.
"He would be so honored, and I'm sure if they have motorcycles in heaven, he'd be right there," said Tara.
Owens was cremated on Wednesday. His wife shared his ashes with his motorcycle club, and his dad and brother, who also ride bikes. Each urn was designed with a motorcycle on top.
Owens leaves behind four children.