A motorcade that included more than 50 motorcycle officers amassed Tuesday to transport the body of fallen Laguna Beach police Officer Jon Coutchie from the coroner's office to a mortuary.
The unexpectedly large showing came as word of the planned motorcade spread to other police agencies, Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz said in a media briefing before the event. The response, 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. "It has truly been an emotional experience."
Police department personnel lined the entrance to McCormick’s Mortuary in Laguna Beach as the motorcade arrived from the Orange County coroner's office in Santa Ana.
Coutchie, 41, died late Saturday after his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck on Coast Highway at Cleo Street. The death was the first in the line of duty of a member of the small police force since 1953.
Coutchie was searching for a speeding motorist at the time of the collision, which is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.
He 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.
Flags were lowered to half-staff on Monday in Laguna Beach in his honor.
The Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs is collecting donations to help with the cost of funeral expenses. Donations can be made online or by check, payable to “AOCDS Memorial Fund” 1314 W. 5th St., Suite A, Santa Ana, CA 92703. Reference "Laguna Beach Police Officer Jon Coutchie" in the memo section of the check.