A 41-year-old Laguna Beach police officer was killed on duty Saturday night when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup truck.
Officer Jon Coutchie "was just traveling through town. His shift was
going to end at midnight," said Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz.
Officers arriving at the crash on South Coast Highway, seeing that Coutchie succumbed to his injuries, ran into a nearby
Ralphs to buy an American flag to drape over his body, in honor of
his service as an Army Ranger and as a Laguna Beach police officer for four
years, Kravetz said.
The crash occurred at Coast and Cleo Street at 11:34 p.m.
Coutchie had been going north on Coast in an attempt to locate a
vehicle which had eluded another officer, Kravetz said. While looking for the
speeding vehicle, he collided with a Chevrolet pickup truck at the intersection.
One witness told a television reporter that the pickup truck had been
going south, and its driver was attempting to turn left when the crash
occurred. The investigation was handled by the California Highway Patrol.
Coast Highway was closed in both directions between Legion and Thalia for six hours while officers investigated the accident. The pickup driver and passengers were questioned, but no arrests were made.
It is the first line-of-duty death of an LBPD officer since 1953.
Coutchie was born on Oct. 2, 1971 in Tucson, Ariz., and was raised in
Orange County. He graduated from Laguna Hills High School in 1989.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he enlisted and became an
Army Ranger, serving from 2003-2007. He completed tours of duty in Iraq and
After being honorably discharged from the Army, he became a part-time
jailer at the Laguna Beach Police Department. The department sponsored him
through the Goldenwest Police Academy in 2008. He completed his training in
March 2009 and was selected as a motor officer in March 2013.
"We will forever miss and love Jon here at the police department and
will grieve along with the citizens of this community," said Kravetz.
Coutchie is survived by his mother,
father, brother, step-sister and girlfriend. -- City News Service