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Injury Update: Deputy Could Spend Week In Hospital

Tim Africano of the Orange County Sheriff's Department was seriously injured when he was thrown from his motorcycle. Find out what his injuries were.

Tim Africano is plenty mobile riding his motorcycle as a motor officer for the Orange County Sheriff Department in Rancho Santa Margarita, but immobility is what he needs right now.

Africano was injured Thursday morning on his way to work when his police-issued Honda hit a patch of water on Santiago Canyon Road.

"He's looking a lot better," Lt. Brian Schmutz said over the weekend of his deputy. "He could be there in the hospital potentially up to a week but is expected to make a full recovery."

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According to Schmutz, who is the chief of police services in Rancho Santa Margarita, Africano suffered a laceration on his spleen, four broke ribs, bruised lungs and "road rash on both of his arms pretty good."

Basically, the deputy just needs to be still, which is why he remains in Mission Hospital.

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

"He's a good rider, he's been riding for years," Schmutz said. "The wet pavement caused the bike to hydroplane, and when it suddenly gained traction it caused the bike to lurch and threw Tim from the bike.

"He told me the wobble was so bad he was straining to keep it steady and he couldn't."

Anyone who knows the story of Africano knows of his powerful arms, and if he couldn't old the bike steady, then it simply couldn't be done.

Africano in June when he held a suicidal boy with one arm while dangling from the Banderas Bridge.

Africano was the first responder to the report of a teen who was threatening to jump off the 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.

ms.sc. September 10, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Sounds like Mr Africano was driving too fast under the conditions. Normally one would be cited by law enforcement. I hope he makes a full recovery. Law enforcement make mistakes in judgement on road conditions as well. He should receive a citation if he is at fault.
Amanda LaRosa September 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
It's unfair to jump to the conclusion that the motor officer was driving too fast for conditions. Hydroplaning can occur *well* within the speed limit on Santiago Canyon Road, and if you hit a patch of water while on a curve - and let's face it, Santiago Canyon Rd is a favorite for its abundance of them - you're at risk at even half the posted limit. I wish Office Africano a speedy and complete recovery, and look forward to having him back on duty.
Martin Henderson (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I disagree that it sounds like he was driving too fast for the conditions. He makes that ride every day into work. Puddling or wet patches on the road aren't necessarily things one can count on. I don't think there's much chance of a citation.
LisaK September 10, 2012 at 09:32 PM
He is a very nice, even keeled man. Definitely not someone who is a speed breaking thrill seeker in a canyon where I'm sure he's seen more deaths there than he'd like to admit. My interaction with him when I needed the OCSD was wonderful. He was strong, comforting, patient and professional. So sad to hear of his injuries, but thankful he is still alive. The statistics on motorcycle crashes is not in favor of the rider. Much love and prayers going out to him and his family. Our county and city is a better place because he's in it.
Lisa P September 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Praying for you! Thank you for what you do for our community! Thank you for sacrificing your life to save one of our communities precious teens! You ARE a hero and you are greatly admired and appreciated! We send prayers of healing, peace and comfort for you and your loved ones! May God bless you for your amazing heart!
brandon September 11, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Looks like Karma caught upto him and not for writing a bunch of UN needed tickets, but for saving the life of that young man...He could have easily bit the dust on that highway with all drop offs and tree's but instead he will make a full recovery...And that is nothing short of super lucky if not more...
M B September 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Deputy Africano, thank you for all you have done in service to our community. Prayers for your complete recovery!

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