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Cottonwood Police Department commander Jody Makuch killed in off-duty motorcycle accident

Commander Jody Makuch of the Cottonwood Police Department was killed the afternoon of Sept. 7 in a motorcycle accident in Cottonwood. (Photo/Verde Independent)

Commander Jody Makuch of the Cottonwood Police Department was killed the afternoon of Sept. 7 in a motorcycle accident in Cottonwood. (Photo/Verde Independent)

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. — Commander Jody Makuch of the Cottonwood Police Department was killed the afternoon of Sept. 7 in a motorcycle accident in Cottonwood.

Makuch was off-duty riding his motorcycle through Cottonwood when a vehicle drifted left of center and struck the police commander head-on, according to a press release.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said the driver of the SUV allegedly was driving impaired and has been booked into jail on suspicion of manslaughter.

Makuch was transported to an area hospital, but died from his injuries.

Makuch was wearing a helmet, gloves, leather and pads, according to Cottonwood City Manager Ron Corbin.

According to his profile page on the city of Cottonwood's website, Makuch served in the U.S. Army for more than seven years in the 1990s before going into law enforcement.

In the Army, his job specialties included artillery, corrections, and military police. After a two-year stint as an officer with the Elk City Police Department in Oklahoma, Makuch moved to Arizona.

With the Cottonwood Police Department, he was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and commander in 2009. He was among the applicants interviewed to replace Jody Fanning as chief in 2016.

Makuch oversaw the Support Services Division of the department, with a variety of areas of responsibility, including the Citizen Police Academy, the Cottonwood Public Safety Communications Center, criminal investigations, animal control and victim assistance.

He was a graduate of the 245th session of the FBI National Academy.

He is survived by his wife, Joanna; their two adult daughters, Ashleigh and Gabrielle and two sons, Hudson, 13, and Spencer, 12.

Makuch was an avid motorcycle and dirt bike enthusiast.

Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell said it is a sad day for the department.

“Jody Makuch represented the best in humanity,” he said. “He was, first and foremost, a loving and dedicated husband and father. His family was everything to him. He was a veteran, selfless public servant, mentor, and friend. He will be greatly missed. We ask that the public keep his family in their thoughts and prayers during this tragic and difficult time and respect their privacy.”

Donations for the Makuch family can be made online at lawenforcementheroes.com. Checks can be made out to “Law Enforcement Heroes” and can be mailed or sent to the Cottonwood Police Department.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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