CHP Officer Dan Benavides (39) was killed Friday, May 7, 2010, when his Cessna 206 patrol aircraft crashed in a remote section of desert southwest of the Salton Sea in Imperial County.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., a CHP air unit, Air-63, was working a speed detail on State Route 86, north of Hoskins Road. After completion of the detail, Air-63 was en route to work a separate speed detail on Interstate 8, west of Dunaway Road, when the El Centro Communication Center lost contact with the pilot. A military and multi-agency search-and-rescue operation for the aircraft was immediately initiated. At approximately 4:03 p.m,, debris from the aircraft was located by a California State Park Air Unit in a rugged, mountainous, desert area near SR-78, west of Split Mountain Road. Benavides was pronounced deceased at the scene. The cause of the collision is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Officer Benavides was a 13-year veteran with the Department and assigned to the Border Division Thermal Air Operations Unit since July 2006 as a fixed-wing aircraft pilot. His previous assignments included Monterey, San Jose, San Diego and Oceanside CHP Area Offices.
Officer Benavides was a resident of the Coachella Valley. He is survived by his wife and a 9-year-old daughter.
A trust fund has been established for the family of CHP officer Dan Benavides as follows:
C.A.H.P. Credit Union
402 West Arrow Hwy, Suite 7
San Dimas, CA 91773
“Dan Benavides Memorial Fund”
Checks payable to Megan Benavides, account #119638