NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - When the name Danny Villa is said in Nogales, everyone knows who you're talking about.
He's the man that played football and basketball at Nogales High School in the 80s and then went on to play football at Arizona State University. Followed by 11 seasons in the NFL, playing for the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and then for the Cardinals, who were known as the Phoenix Cardinals at the time.
The large man, a former offensive lineman is recovering in a Tucson hospital after a very serious crash.
Villa had been riding his bike in Rio Rico near Ruby Road and Via Frontera on Sunday just after 5 a.m. when, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, one of their deputies in his patrol car hit Villa while he was on his bike.
The 53-year-old was airlifted to Banner University Medical Center with serious head and back injuries.
Tucson News Now learned about the deputy involved from Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada.
Sheriff Estrada said the deputy driving had been a deputy for four years and before that spent four years as a detention officer in Santa Cruz County.
The deputy is 39 years old and grew up in Nogales.
According to Sheriff Estrada, the deputy was getting off his shift and was driving at a lawful speed. The deputy was not put on administrative leave following the crash. The sheriff said it was the sheriff's department's decision not to do it and they didn't think it was necessary.
Now this border community is praying for one of their own to make a full recovery at Banner UMC.