Clayton Jones dead at 69
Clayton D. Jones, who gained a place in the history of the Texas Senate during the Killer Bee incident, died at 5:30 A.M. Friday morning in Livingston. Jones' death was a result of cancer related to asbestos exposure. He was 69.
In late May of 1979, Jones, the brother of former state Senator Gene Jones of Houston, became part of Senate folklore when Texas Ranger Charlie Cook mistook him for the Senator and mistakenly had him transported to Austin in an attempt to restore a quorum in the Texas Senate. Twelve senators had left the Capitol in an attempt to stop a bill which could have split Texas primaries over two separate days. Without those twelve Senators, the body lacked a quorum and could not conduct business. As a result, Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby then put a call on the Senate and ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to find the missing Senators and return them to Austin.
Ranger Cook had gone to Senator Jones home on Sunday morning, May 20, 1979, in an effort to escort the Senator back to Austin. The Senator spotted the Ranger in the driveway and asked his brother to go out and get the paper. The Ranger then confronted Clayton in the driveway and told him that if he was Senator Jones, then he had orders from his superiors to transport him to Austin. Clayton said, "Officer, you're making a mistake." Cook responded. "Sir, you need to come with me." The Senator's brother never denied that he was the Senator and allowed himself to be taken to the state capital via DPS helicopter. Clayton later said that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, having never ridden in a helicopter before!
When Clayton Jones arrived in Austin, he was immediately recognized by Sergeant at Arms Kelly Arnold as not being the Senator. Jones then became the center of a media circus at the Austin Airport, as reporters stumbled into the group of Department of Public Safety officers trying to explain to Senate officials why they had brought the wrong man.
Senator Gene Jones then called his fellow "Killer Bees" and a Houston radio station to reassure them that he had not been caught. Jones said: "I guess the thing I have to do now is call my six other brothers and tell them that they look a great deal like me. And they are going to have to go into hiding..."
The Jones incident enhanced national coverage of the Texas Legislature during the Killer Bee incident, as reporters came up with a number of other stories about the missing Senators and unusual measures the Legislature had passed.
Clayton D. Jones is survived by his wife, Lucille, three children, and one granddaughter.