California motorcycle officer involved in crash dies

A California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was killed in a crash Saturday after he was struck by a driver during a traffic stop, according to media reports.

The agency identified the officer as Sgt. Steve Licon of the CHP's Riverside area.

"Our hearts are heavy after the immeasurable loss of a friend, father, husband, and hero. Sergeant Steve Licon, #13348, of the CHP Riverside Area made the ultimate sacrifice today while serving his community. Rest easy brother, we have the watch from here," the CHP wrote in a Facebook post.

The officer's motorcycle collided with a sedan just before 4:30 p.m. PT on Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, KTLA-TV reported. Authorities said it appeared Licon was struck by an "errant driver" during a traffic stop on the shoulder of the freeway, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Three people were taken to hospitals via ambulance in unknown condition, the station reported. It was unclear whether the officer was included among those three people, FOX 5 of San Diego reported.

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Authorities closed the southbound lanes of the freeway.

The area has seen heavy traffic in recent weeks because of poppy blooms that have drawn thousands to the area during weekends.