A 41-year-old Laguna Beach police officer on his motorcycle was killed when his cycle crashed into a pickup truck, a police captain said Sunday.
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 ran into a nearby supermarket to buy an American flag to drape over Coutchie's body, in honor of his service as an Army Ranger and as a Laguna Beach police officer for four years, Kravetz said.
The crash was on Laguna Beach's main street at the Cleo Street intersection at 11:34 p.m. Saturday, according to the Coroner's Office. The police officer died at the scene.
Coutchie had been going north on Coast Highway in an attempt to locate a vehicle which had eluded another officer, Kravetz said. While looking for the speeding vehicle, he crashed into a Chevrolet pickup truck at the intersection of Cleo Street.
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.
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 Afghanistan, the police captain said.
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, he said.
"We will forever miss and love Jon here at the police department and will grieve along with the citizens of this community," Kravetz said.
–City News Service