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Calif. CO, K-9 killed in single-vehicle crash

CPH is investigating why the vehicle suddenly veered off the road and rolled down an embankment

Duty Death: Gilbert Cortez - [Norco, California]

End of Service: 03/25/2013


By PoliceOne Staff

SAN DIEGO — An on-duty correctional officer and his police K-9 were killed Monday when their vehicle overturned in a rural area of San Diego.

Gilbert Cortez, 46, and K-9 Mattie were en route to a drug inspection along with several other correctional officers in separate vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo courtesy: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
(Photo courtesy: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)

Cortez's vehicle was in front when it drifted to the right, then rolled and struck a rock embankment. Other officers attempted CPR, but Cortez died before he could be airlifted, according to the Associated Press.  The accident is being investigated by highway patrol.

“His untimely passing, in the line of duty, is a huge loss to all who worked with him," Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard said in a statement.

Cortez had been with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Center in Norco since 2001, where he completed his K-9 training. Before that he was with the California Institution for Men in Chino starting in 1990. 

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