CHP officer killed in Imperial County plane crash

IMPERIAL — Officials say a highway patrol pilot flying to monitor freeway speeders was killed when his aircraft crashed in Southern California.

Officer Danny Benavides was flying solo when his plane went down about 9:30 a.m. Friday in a desert area in Imperial County. The wreckage was found around 4 p.m. and the 13-year patrol officer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Benavides had just finished working one speed detail and was en route to another on Interstate 8 when he crashed.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the crash.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the crash. He says the 39-year-old's "honorable service will forever be remembered."

He is survived by his wife and a daughter.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.