See the update at the end of this post on how to donate to Jon Coutchie's family and memorial service details.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 23, 7 A.M.: Officer Jon Coutchie, a 41-year-old Laguna Beach police officer, was riding his motorcycle near the end of his shift late Saturday night when he crashed into a pickup truck on South Coast Highway and died.
Coutchie had been heading north looking for a vehicle that eluded police when he clipped the truck that was going south and turning onto Cleo Street just after 11:30 p.m. His shift ended at midnight.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating.
Coutchie, who was born in Tucson, Arizona, but graduated from Laguna Hills High School, was identified by his department as a four-year member of the force. He'd become an Army Ranger after the 9/11 attacks, completed tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, and after his honorable discharge became a part-time jailer with the Laguna Beach Police Department. He'd been a motorcycle officer since March.
"We will forever miss and love Jon here at the police department and will grieve along with the citizens of this community," Lt. Jason Kravetz reportedly told City News Service.
UPDATE, SEPT. 24, 2:25 P.M.: The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs is collecting donations on behalf on the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association to defray funeral expenses for the family of Jon Coutchie, the first Laguna Beach police officer to die in the line of duty since 1953.
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Reminding that "unscrupulous people have taken the opportunity in the past to capitalize on the deaths of officers killed in the line of duty," the deputies association points out its memorial fund is the only one authorized by the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association to accept donations in honor of Coutchie.
A memorial service, which is open to the public, is scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday at Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine. You are advised to arrive by 10 a.m. as the church is expected to be packed.
Coutchie is survived by his mother, father, brother, stepmother, stepsister and girlfriend.