Touching photos shows injured K9, deputy recovering from crash

A Ventura County Sheriff’s Office deputy and his K9 partner will be back on the job soon after recovering from a collision involving an alleged DUI driver, officials announced Monday.

The crash occurred Saturday night when Deputy Castaneda and his K9, Danny, were responding to a call of a possible DUI driver near Neptune’s Net, a popular seafood restaurant along Pacific Coast Highway between Malibu and Oxnard.

As they were traveling southbound on PCH, they collided with a white Mercedes sedan that was driving into oncoming traffic, according to the California Highway Patrol.

PCH K9 Crash
A Ventura County Sheriff’s vehicle is seen resting on rocks near the ocean after a crash on Dec. 16, 2023. (VCSO)

“Deputy Castaneda saw the Mercedes approaching him and took evasive measures to avoid a crash; however, the front of the Mercedes subsequently struck the patrol vehicle,” CHP said in its report.

The impact sent the SUV flying off the roadway and down a rocky cliff where it came to rest in a precarious spot next to the surf.

Authorities stabilized the vehicle and pulled Castaneda and Danny, a Dutch shepherd, to safety. Castaneda suffered minor injuries while his K9 partner walked away from the crash with only a cut on his face, CHP said.

PCH K9 Crash
Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Castaneda is seen with his K9 partner, Danny, after a crash involving a suspected DUI driver. Dec. 16, 2023. (VCSO)

Photos released by the Sheriff’s Office show both deputies being treated in an ambulance, seemingly in good spirits.

The driver of the Mercedes had to be extricated from his vehicle and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Gerardo Escalante-Soto, 25, who was already on probation for driving under the influence, was booked for felony DUI.

PCH K9 Crash
Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Castaneda is seen with his K9 partner, Danny. December 2023. (VCSO)

“We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has shown support and concern for Deputy Castaneda and his K9 partner Danny,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote on social media along with photos of the pair. “We are happy to report the two are now recovering at home and looking forward to getting back to work soon. Thank you again for showing them much love.”

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