NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Rescue crews airlifted an off-duty Miami-Dade Police officer to the hospital after, officials said, he crashed his motorcycle into a guardrail along Interstate 75 in Miami Lakes, Sunday morning, causing the law enforcement veteran to lose a leg.

Police and fire rescue crews responded to the scene of the accident, near the Northwest 138th Street exit, at around 9 a.m. Investigators said the officer was riding his personal Suzuki motorcycle southbound when he slid off the roadway.

“We don’t know if our officer lost control or if something else occurred with the motorcycle that maybe caused him to hit the guardrail,” said Miami-Dade Police Officer Robin Pinkard.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Pinkard said other drivers stopped to help the injured officer. “There were other motorists on the road who saw what occurred and stopped to render aid to our officer,” she said.

Paramedics airlifted the injured officer to Ryder Trauma Center, where he is listed in critical condition.

Officials later identified the law enforcer as Miami-Dade Police Maj. Rick Carter of the Northside District, a nearly 23-year veteran. He was reportedly driving to a charity event at the time of the crash.

7News cameras captured other Miami-Dade Police officers praying outside the hospital. One woman became so overcome with emotion that she had to be carried inside.

Miami-Dade Police released a statement which read in part, “The entire Miami-Dade Police Department is keeping Major Ricky Carter in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We ask that he and his family be given the privacy they need throughout this critical stage.”

Sunday afternoon, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez tweeted out messages of support for Carter’s family in English and Spanish.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz also spoke out about Carter. “Great guy, great guy. It’s very sad that things happen to great people,” he said.

All southbound lanes were shut down on I-75, at Northwest 138th Street and Graham Dairy Road, as traffic was diverted off the highway and police conducted their investigation. They were later reopened.

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