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Flags lowered in Laguna Beach after officer dies in line of duty

September 23, 2013|By Angel Jennings

Flags in Laguna Beach have been lowered to half-staff after a longtime city police officer was killed when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck while he was searching for a speeding motorist.

Jon Coutchie, 41, collided with the truck late Saturday on Coast Highway at Cleo Street, said Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz.

It was the small police department’s first death in the line of duty since 1953.

“This tragedy is an important reminder of how our police department puts its life on the line each and every day to protect all of us,” said Elizabeth Pearson, the city’s mayor pro tem.

The crash is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

Born in Tucson, Ariz., and raised in Orange County, where he graduated from Laguna Hills High School in 1989, Coutchie served in the U.S. Army from 2003 to 2007, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He later joined the Laguna Beach Police Department, working as a part-time jailer. The department then sponsored him through the Golden West Police Academy in 2008 and he was sworn in as a city police officer the following year.

"We will forever miss and love Jon here at the police department and will grieve along with the citizens of this community," Kravetz said in a statement.

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angel.jennings@latimes.com

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