LOWVILLE — A Lewis County native died Monday in a head-on collision, multiple news sources in Cottonwood, Ariz., are reporting.

Jody M. Makuch, 49, a commander with the Cottonwood Police Department, died Monday as a result of a head-on crash while riding his motorcycle off duty. According to reports, the operator of a sport utility vehicle, who crossed the center line and struck Mr. Makuch, was impaired while driving and is being charged with manslaughter.

Reports describe the police officer as a dear friend and a mentor. He worked closely with youth development groups.

“Jody Makuch represented the best in humanity,” Cottonwood Police Chief Steve Gesell told Phoenix 12 News. “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.”

Support was shown by community members who lined Main Street in Cottonwood as a procession of law enforcement agencies and fire departments escorted the commander’s remains from the medical examiner’s office to the funeral home.

The city of Cottonwood staff directory says Mr. Makuch began his law enforcement career in 1998 as a police officer with the Elk City Police Department, Okla., and has been with the Cottonwood Police Department since January 2000. He was promoted to commander in November 2009. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the Support Services Division working with victim assistance, criminal investigation and the Citizen Police Academy, among other duties.

He served for seven-and-a-half years in the Army prior to his civilian law enforcement career, specializing in artillery, corrections and military police.

Mr. Makuch, a 1989 Lowville Academy graduate, is survived by his wife Joanna; daughters Ashleigh and Gabrielle; sons Hudson and Spencer; mother Wendy Glazier of Lowville; father Joseph Makuch of Lowville; and brothers Frank Glazier Jr. and Matthew Makuch.

A GoFundMe account, which describes the police officer as “a devoted husband and father spending all of his time with his family,” especially with his daughters’ youth soccer teams and in off-road sports with his sons, has been set up at

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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A sobering thought for those of you who say "its only a DWI."

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