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A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer was in critical condition Saturday and a woman was arrested after a multi-vehicle crash in Sun Valley, authorities said.

Los Angeles police officers examined the wreckage of a motorcycle and SUV after a crash in Sun Valley on April 5, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

The collision occurred about 5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street (map), according to Sgt. Jodie McGee of the LAPD’s West Traffic Division.

The officer was apparently stopped at a red light when he was struck from behind by a red SUV that failed to stop, causing the motorcycle to hit the car in front of it, McGee said. The motorcycle was trapped in between the two other vehicles as a result.

“As soon as it impacted with him, the officer flew up and landed back onto his motorcycle. Half of his body was over his motorcycle — the front part,” said Alicia Garcia, a nursing student. She and a nurse were among the bystanders who rushed to render aid after the crash.

“A civilian was able to grab the officer’s walkie-talkie and called it in,” Garcia said. “Within a minute, they were here and they were able to get to him.”

The officer, a 26-year veteran of the force, was transported to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where he remained in critical condition Saturday evening, the LAPD said. His family members were joined at the hospital by several of his colleagues and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

Motorcycle officers are “very vulnerable,” said Sgt. Frank Preciado. “They go through a different kind of driving course, to try to anticipate some individuals. But, as you can see, it’s very difficult when someone’s coming from behind you.”

As of 10 p.m., the intersection was expected to remain closed for three to four hours while an investigation at the scene continued.

The woman was arrested for narcotics DUI, according to an LAPD Valley Traffic Division official.

Qaneak Cobb of Pacoima, 33, was arrested around 6:10 p.m. on Saturday, bail was set at $185,000, according to LAPD media relations.

Cobb had a substantial number of prior arrests, Sgt. Kurt Smith with the LAPD Valley Traffic Division said.

The officers condition was said to be critical but stable.