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Orange County

Deputy Dies of Crash Injuries

Accident: The sergeant's motorcycle had collided with a car Friday in Mission Viejo. The 16-year veteran leaves a wife and three children.

September 23, 2002|JENNIFER MENA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Orange County sheriff's deputy died Sunday morning of injuries suffered when his motorcycle collided with a car in a Mission Viejo intersection on Friday.

Sgt. Matthew Davis, 38, had been in grave condition since the crash, and family members and sheriff's deputies were standing vigil at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo when he died, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

Davis was a 16-year law enforcement veteran, and a husband and father of three children.

"I think he was first and foremost a family man," said Wayne Quint, president of the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, who has known Davis since his rookie year. "He was a Christian who put his family first. He was a professional deputy."

Davis is survived by his wife, Tammy; a 13-year-old son; and daughters ages 11 and 7, Quint said.

He said Davis was a skilled motorcycle rider who promoted safety.

The collision occurred as Davis was southbound on Marguerite Parkway at La Sierra Drive about 12:30 p.m. He collided with a Saturn turning left from eastbound La Sierra onto northbound Marguerite.

The impact threw Davis about 20 feet into a traffic sign. Authorities said Davis was wearing a helmet.

The 17-year-old female driver of the Saturn had stopped at a stop sign before starting her left turn. Davis did not have a stop sign. The accident remains under investigation.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to [the Saturn driver]," Quint said. "This was an accident. This young lady must feel horrible. Tammy, Matt's wife, would want everyone's prayers to go out to her."

Davis was the third sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty in as many years, all in south Orange County, Quint said.

"This is a huge blow because it's back to back, and it's all the Sheriff's Department," Quint said. "Emotionally and spiritually, for the department, it is a real tough one."

In June 1999, Deputy Brad Riches was gunned down by a man with an assault rifle outside a Lake Forest convenience store.

In June 2000, Steven Parsons, 36, died after his motorcycle was struck by a car that allegedly had run a red light in Aliso Viejo. Parsons was the department's first motorcycle officer killed in the line of duty.

Besides Davis and Parsons, at least six motorcycle officers from other police agencies in Orange County have been killed on the job, dating to the 1930s. According to the FBI, 50 law enforcement officers died in motorcycle accidents nationwide between 1990 and 1999. During that same period, 343 officers died in automobile accidents, and 58 in aircraft accidents.

Davis' funeral will be Thursday at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Quint said.

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Times staff writer Jack Leonard contributed to this report.

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