A Laguna Beach police officer was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a pick-up truck on South Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Laguna Beach. This is the first death of an on-duty officer for this police force since 1953.
A number of people witnessed the crash, which occurred at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and raced to help the officer. One witness said that he was already unresponsive and lifeless when he reached him. However, another bystander administered CPR in an effort to revive him.
The officer was born in Tucson, Arizona, but was raised in Orange County, where he graduated from Laguna Hills High School in 1989. He became an Army Ranger, and served from 2003 to 2007. He was deployed during that time to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After an honorable discharge from the military, he turned to a career in law enforcement, joining the Laguna Beach Police Department in 2009.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the cause of the fatal motorcycle accident is still under investigation. The Los Angeles Times reported that the officer was responding to a call regarding a driver who was speeding when he crashed into the truck at the intersection of Cleo Street in Laguna Beach.
In a sad irony, the LA Times also reported that the officer, who had excelled in his relatively short time on the police force, had expressed an interest in investigating traffic accidents, and was selected just this March for one of the few positions as a motor officer.
Motorcycles can be dangerous vehicles, even for people like this officer who are experienced in driving them. When they collide with a car or truck, the person on the motorcycle often fares far worse than the other driver. People who drive Southern California's freeways and busy roads like PCH are used to seeing motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic, which can be frightening. However, we need to be vigilant to prevent tragedies like this one.
According to Los Angeles Times, Laguna Beach police officer killed in motorcycle crash, Angel Jennings, Sept. 22, 2013
Source: KTLA 5, "Laguna Beach Motor Officer Jon Coutchie Killed in Traffic Collision" Ann Pride, Sep. 22, 2013