Thu, June 17

Man jailed in traffic death of police commander
Report: Camp Verde suspect likely was impaired

Jason H. Engel

Jason H. Engel

COTTONWOOD — A Camp Verde man was booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center after a Monday-afternoon wreck that claimed the life of an off-duty Cottonwood police commander.

Jason H. Engel, 41, was booked on a charge of manslaughter, with additional felony and misdemeanor charges, including criminal damage and endangerment, pending. Impairment is suspected, an Arizona Department of Public Safety report states, and toxicology reports are pending.

According to the report, first responders were called to a stretch of West State Route 89A in Cottonwood at Willard Street at about 2:40 p.m. Monday. DPS said Engel was driving a sport utility vehicle southbound on State Route 89A, drove left of the center of the roadway and struck a motorcyclist head-on within the northbound lanes of State Route 89A.

The motorcycle driver, Jody Makuch, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the report states.

The report can be viewed here.

Makuch, 49, was a commander and a 20-year veteran of the Cottonwood Police Department and was off-duty at the time of the collision.

DPS is conducting the collision and criminal investigation at the request of Cottonwood police.

Engel is being held on a $5,000 paper bond.

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