Police say bystanders who came to the aid of a woman after a stabbing in a Bramalea parking lot early Tuesday may have saved the victim's life.

The attack happened at about 6 a.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of a FreshCo store in the Bramalea City Centre, located at the corner of Peel Centre Drive and Team Canada Drive. A woman in her 20s was air-lifted to a Toronto trauma centre suffering from multiple stab wounds. She remains in critical condition.

A man, also in his 20s is in custody. There is no word yet on charges.

Police say people in the parking lot came to the victim's aid in the moments after she was stabbed inside a car.

"They pulled her from the vehicle and pulled her to safety," said Peel Regional Police Const. Thomas Ruttan. "If it weren't for them, then she quite possibly would be dead now."

A male suspect fled the scene in a car. A high-speed chase ensued, which police had to call off for safety reasons when speeds exceeded 150 kilometres an hour. A police cruiser was involved in a collision with another vehicle during the chase, but police say no one was hurt in the crash.

The male suspect was arrested later Tuesday morning.

Police say the suspect and the victim are known to each other.