California Department of Corrections Sergeant Gilbert Cortez, 46, and his K9, Mattie, died March 25, 2013 in an automobile accident in San Diego County.
Sergeant Cortez was part of a convoy of state corrections K9 officers who were en route to inspect the La Cima Fire Camp in a rural part of the county. His marked vehicle veered off the roadway and overturned, killing K9 Mattie. Sergeant Cortez was transported to a local fire station but died before a helicopter could reach him.
Sergeant Cortez had served with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for 23 years and was assigned to the Southern Regional K-9 Unit.