Heroic Deputy Seriously Injured in Early Morning Crash

The deputy who held a suicidal boy as he dangled from a bridge is thrown from his motorcycle and hospitalized on his way to work.

The heroic Orange County sheriff's deputy who hung onto a suicidal teenager dangling from a Rancho Santa Margarita bridge two months ago was injured Thursday morning on his way to work.

Deputy Tim Africano, who works out of RSM, was riding his police motorcycle when it hit a patch of wet road as he headed south on Santiago Canyon Road, just south of Ridgeline Road, according to Lt. Pat Higa.

Africano's Honda lost traction with the pavement and he was thrown from the motorcycle, causing moderate to major injuries. The crash wrecked the motorcycle, Higa said.

The deputy was transported out of Lake Forest to Mission Hospital to treat his injuries, which were not life-threatening but will require a hospital stay, Higa said. 

No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Under department policy, the crash was under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

Africano in June when he was the first responder to the report of a teen who was threatening to jump off the Banderas Bridge. The boy was on the outside of an 8-foot-high fence on a small ledge; Africano climbed the fence and straddled it, then grabbed the boy and held him with one arm as the boy went limp in an attempt to fall onto the 241 toll road below.

Perched about 40 feet above the highway, Africano held on until two other deputies arrived moments later and assisted pulling the boy over the fence.

Kitty Kat September 07, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Praying for a quick recovery!
M B September 07, 2012 at 04:41 AM
Prayers for a fast and complete recovery! Martin, please keep us posted on how Deputy Africano is doing!
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 07, 2012 at 04:48 AM
I'll do my best. It would be pretty cool if the schools signed a big card or something. Could easily be done at SMCHS-Trabuco football game, or would be an easy second-day of school art project.
April Josephson September 07, 2012 at 07:23 AM
So sorry to hear this. Wishing him a speedy recovery!
J.P. September 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
My thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Africano for a complete, speedy recovery.
Lawrence (Larry) McCook September 07, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Officer Africano is a REAL LOCAL HERO! A speedy recovery and return to Rancho Santa Margarita!
Dan Avery September 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I hope Deputy Africano recovers quickly. Mr. McCook it is heartwarming to see a city council member express concern for the Officer in public. When an officer was injured over here in Mission Viejo we had Council Member Schlicht express her concern for how much damage was done to the motorcycle.
John Webb September 07, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Our prayers are with the officer and his family.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 08, 2012 at 08:03 AM
It's pretty easy to replace a motorcycle. Replacing a good man is more difficult.
Sharon A. Allen September 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Orange County Sheriff is the "Best". Get well Deputy Africano. All of Orange County appreciates the wonderful service you give to the County. You can patrol in San Juan Capistrano any time. Thank you to all of your fellow Officers for keeping us safe.
Mike Proctor September 08, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I was at Mission Hospital when he came in...you always can tell when a police officer has been hurt, as there was five or six motor officers, and at least a half a dozen or more CHP and OC sherif patrol cars in the parking lot. Wishing the officer a speedy recovery.
Shirley September 09, 2012 at 06:50 AM
I wish the best to this deputy, we need you back on patrol.
Dusty W Otero September 09, 2012 at 06:58 AM
He will be alright if that's all that happen thanks goodness a car didn't hit him he will learn from this what went wrong,,,and he is trained to get back on that horse as I would say,,,,good Luck ..
DH September 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I know the patch of road. The sprinklers always over water at that area and then the water runs across the road people hydroplane. It is in the same area a few years ago a teen t-boned a utility pole and died. When are they going to correct the water problem there.
M B September 16, 2012 at 06:24 AM
Martin, any updates on Deputy Africano's condition? Still keeping him in our thoughts and prayers!
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM
I haven't heard anything in the last couple of days, but there was some speculation he might be out for the weekend. I'll get an update from Lt. Schmutz. Thanks for asking.


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