A police officer in Culpeper, Va., was critically injured yesterday in a crash that occurred while he was escorting the funeral procession for a girl who was crushed by a school bus, authorities said.

W.C. "Roscoe" Barnes, 44, was riding a motorcycle at the end of the procession for Emily Nicole Woodward when he struck the side of a car that pulled into his path from a cross street, the Culpeper police department said. Barnes was thrown from his motorcycle and landed in the road, police said.

A police spokeswoman said the driver of the car was not part of the procession. Virginia State Police are investigating the crash, the spokeswoman said.

The crash occurred about 3 p.m. on Sperryville Pike at Kelly Street. Barnes was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville with head and other injuries, police said. They said he was in stable condition there last night.

According to the Culpeper Star-Exponent newspaper, Barnes is a retired Fairfax County firefighter. Police said he has worked for the Culpeper department for six years.

Emily Woodward, 10, was running to catch a school bus on the first day of school Wednesday in Culpeper when she fell. Neighbors said the bus driver never saw Nicole, as she was known, and the bus didn't stop.