Gov. Brown orders flags flown at half-staff for fallen correctio - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Gov. Brown orders flags flown at half-staff for fallen corrections officer

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State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Officer Gilbert Cortez. State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Officer Gilbert Cortez.

WARNER SPRINGS (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife offered condolences Tuesday to the family of a state corrections officer who, along with his service dog, was killed in a solo car crash on state Route 79, east of Lake Henshaw.

Brown also ordered all Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff Tuesday in honor of state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Officer Gilbert Cortez.

"Anne and I offer our deep condolences to Officer Cortez's family, friends and colleagues as they mourn the loss of this dedicated officer," Brown said in a statement. "We are grateful for his courage and years of service to the people of California."

Cortez, 46, was leading several prison-system vehicles southbound when he lost control of the marked Ford Crown Victoria about a half-mile south of San Felipe Road in the Warner Springs area shortly before 7:30 a.m. Monday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The sedan skidded out of control and rolled over, coming to rest on its wheels, the CHP reported.

Medics took Cortez to a nearby fire station, where he died before he could be put into a helicopter for a flight to a trauma center.

The dog, a Belgian Malinois named Mattie, died in the wreck. No one else was in the car.

The wreck occurred as corrections personnel in five vehicles were en route to inspect La Cima Fire Camp, an inmate-staffed backcountry firefighting outpost in the Julian area, said Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Cortez, a 23-year veteran of the state corrections agency, worked at California Rehabilitation Center in Riverside County and was part of its Southern Regional K-9 Unit. He is survived by his wife, their two children and his parents.

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