HARTFORD - A Bridgeport police officer is in a coma after an accident while riding his motorcycle in Hartford Friday.

Officer Shelton Mayne was off duty at the time of the accident, according to officials.

Fellow officers describe the young patrolman as influential to residents on his beat. They say he went so far as to convince a drug dealer to get off the streets and return to school.

Chief Joe Gaudet says that although Mayne is single, he supports his mother, sister and nephew, and the family desperately needs emotional and financial support.

Detective Harold Dimbo, who once taught Mayne in the police academy, says he saw Mayne Friday shortly before the accident.

"You see somebody, and you really don't know what's going to happen when you say, 'I'll see you later,'" Dimbo says.