An investigation was underway Sunday into the death of a Laguna Beach Police officer who was killed in a traffic collision, authorities said.
Officer Jon Coutchie, who was on duty at the time, was driving his motorcycle when it collided with a Chevrolet pickup truck around 11 p.m. Saturday on S. Pacific Coast Highway at Cleo St. in Laguna Beach.
Witnesses rushed to assist the fallen officer.
“As soon as I saw him go down, I ran up to help the poor guy and he was already lifeless,” Ian Paul said.
Paul, who was walking in the area at the time, said he stayed with the officer as another pedestrian administered CPR.
“I tried to talk to the officer and there was no response,” Paul said.
Members of the Laguna Beach Police Department were said to be devastated by the news.
On Sunday morning officers could be seen crying and hugging as they placed flowers near the crash site.
Coutchie, 42, was born in Tucson, and raised in Orange County where he graduated from Laguna Hills High School in 1989, according to the police department.
After the September 11th terrorist attacks, Coutchie joined the military and became an Army Ranger. the department said.
He served from 2003 to 2007 with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After being honorably discharged from the Army, he pursued a career in law enforcement.
Coutchie was sworn in as an officer in the Laguna Beach Police Department in march of 2009.
He is the first member of the Laguna Beach Police Department to be killed in the line of duty since 1953, the department said.
Governor Gerry Brown issued the following statement regarding the death of Officer Jon Coutchie:
“Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to Officer Coutchie’s loved ones. As we mourn the loss of Officer Coutchie, we commit to honoring his service and remembering his sacrifice.”
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash.