Photo courtesy of CDCR.
A state correctional officer and his search dog died Monday in a single-vehicle crash in San Diego County.
Sgt. Gilbert Cortez, 46, and his dog, Mattie, were among five K-9 teams driving south in separate vehicles on state Route 79 shortly after 7 a.m. They were headed to the La Cima Fire Camp, where they were scheduled to search inmates for drugs and other contraband.
Cortez, a member of the Southern Regional K-9 Unit, worked at the California Rehabilitation Center. He began his career at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 1990 and reached the rank of sergeant the following year.
Officer Cortez is survived by his wife, their two children and his parents. His K-9 partner Mattie was a female Belgian Malinois, who was certified to search for contraband and narcotics.
PHOTOS: Police Dogs