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Motorcade planned today for fallen Laguna Beach police officer

September 24, 2013|By Angel Jennings and Jason Wells
  • A picture of Laguna Beach police Officer Jon Coutchie posted at the scene where he collided with a pickup truck and died Saturday night at the intersection of Cleo Street and Coast Highway.
A picture of Laguna Beach police Officer Jon Coutchie posted at the scene… (Don Leach / Coastline Pilot )

The response to a planned motorcade for a fallen Laguna Beach police officer Tuesday has taken his comrades by surprise, according to a briefing from a department captain.

Longtime officer Jon Coutchie, 41, died late Saturday after his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck on Coast Highway at Cleo Street. It was the first death in the line of duty of a member of the small police department since 1953.

Coutchie's body is scheduled to be picked up at the Orange County coroner's office in Santa Ana about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday. Since his death, a Laguna Beach police officer has been by his side 24 hours a day, according to police Capt. Jason Kravetz.

The response from outside Laguna to the planned motorcade, he said, "has frankly taken us by surprise."

"We had planned on doing this ourselves, but word spread to other law enforcement officers who will now be showing up to participate," Kravetz said in a briefing to the media. "It has truly been an emotional experience."

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

Coutchie was searching for a speeding motorist at the time of the collision, which is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

Flags were lowered to half-staff on Monday as city officials came to grips with the tradegy.

When the motorcade arrives at McCormick’s Mortuary in Laguna Beach, department staff will be lining the driveway "to welcome Jon back home," Kravetz said.

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angel.jennings@latimes.com

Twitter: LATangel

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