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Export X Games athlete 'Mad Mike' arrested in Miami

| Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A motocross racing legend from Export allegedly went berserk in a Florida airport Monday, attacking a repairman and a police officer before he eventually was subdued by as many as five law enforcement agents who used a Taser gun.

Michael John Jones, 43, of 286 Story Road — a 2001 Winter X Games champion known as "Mad Mike" — was charged with battery, assault and resisting arrest with violence in connection with the incident around 2:30 a.m. on Concourse H at the Miami International Airport. Jones was ordered held on $12,500 bond.

Police said Tuesday that Jones, who sports a Mohawk haircut and has "Mad Mike" tattooed on his fingers, was on a layover at the airport when the attack occurred.

"We don't know why he did it," said Detective Aida Fina-Milian, Miami-Dade police department spokeswoman.

During Jones' appearance at a bond hearing, reported by WFOR-TV in South Florida, his wife, Christine, said he is bipolar — a mental disorder that can cause severe mood swings when left untreated.

She said her husband was returning home after a trip to Costa Rica. She said a friend whom Jones visited in Costa Rica called her and said he was worried about her husband's behavior, the TV station reported.

Attempts to speak with Christine Jones yesterday were unsuccessful.

According to the police report, Jones shoved a luggage cart at two men working on a water and sewer panel at the airport. It missed them, but he then punched one of them, Medardo Recarte, 36, several times in the face while threatening the other worker, James Barlo, 69, authorities said.

A police officer arrived and ordered Jones to the ground. Jones rushed the officer, who tried unsuccessfully to shock him with a stun gun, police said. Jones then punched the officer, who eventually restrained him with the help of other officers, authorities said.

WFOR-TV reported that Jones was shocked with a stun gun several times before being subdued.

Jones' booking photo shows he has a cut under his right eye.

A relative who lives near Jones on the Steel City Raceway property in Delmont declined comment.

Tim Cotter, director of MXS Sports, which produces events for the raceway, said the arrest shocked him. Jones, a freestyle racer, last participated in an event at the raceway about two years ago.

"I think it's really unfortunate," Cotter said. "The Mike Jones I know, that's totally out of character for him. It's a real shock. I don't know what would cause someone to do that."

In a 2006 Tribune-Review story, Jones recounted having 11 operations. He said he suffered a punctured lung and a broken back in racing accidents and needed "probably 300 stitches."

"I love dirt-bike racing," Jones said. "It's what keeps me going. Whenever I get up in the morning, it's what I want to do. I make a decent living and am still having fun, so I'm going to do it as long as I can."

Cotter, who described himself as a business friend, was with Jones about two weeks ago for Bike Week in Daytona.

"He seemed to be in real good spirits," Cotter said. "He was Mike. Everything was very good."

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