Videos show driver drifted over white line and killed CSP trooper Cody Donahue, arrest report says

Posted at 11:23 AM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-28 20:25:07-05

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- Two videos show the driver of a semi truck drifted over the solid white line on the side of Interstate 25 and hit and killed a Colorado State Patrol trooper, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

The arrest warrant for Noe Gamez-Ruiz said Troopers Cody Donahue and Matthew Normandin were investigating a crash on northbound I-25 at approximately mile marker 179 on Friday afternoon.

Both troopers were in marked patrol cars with their patrol lights flashing, according to the arrest warrant.

At 1:50 p.m, Trooper Normandin said he was sitting in his car, and Trooper Donahue was next to a wrecked vehicle, when a semi crossed the solid white line and hit Donahue.

Trooper Normandin said he immediately went to Trooper Donahue, but he said Donahue was already deceased.

The driver of the semi immediately pulled over. The driver, later identified as Gamez-Ruiz, agreed to take a voluntary blood test and was taken to a hospital for that test. The results have not yet been released.

Video from Gamez-Ruiz's truck and Donahue's vehicle show Gamez-Ruiz drifted over the fog lane and struck the trooper, according to arrest warrant. The videos have not been released.

Investigators said there was room for Gamez-Ruiz to move over to the No. 2 lane, away from the troopers, which is required by law, but Gamez-Ruiz did not.

Gamez-Ruiz is being charged with failure to yield the right away to a stationary emergency vehicle and careless driving causing death. In court Monday, Gamez-Ruiz was given his next court date -- in January.

This incident is Gamez-Ruiz only arrest in the state, according to Colorado Bureau Investigation records. 

The charge brings a maximum sentence of one year in prison, if convicted. Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler explained the low-level charges Monday to Denver7.

"I think what the public ought to know is that Colorado by in large has some laws that are weaker than others. In this particular case, the evidence that we have at this point suggests only that this death was the result of negligence, carelessness,” Brauchler said. “If you had someone who was intending to hurt someone, any of those things would make this a far more serious charge.”

"I think that Colorado could go a long way towards providing greater protections to the men and women in uniform,” he added. “I am bound by the laws not as I wish they were, not as I think they should be; I am bound by the laws as they exist today.”

Donahue was an 11-year veteran of the force. He was stationed at the Castle Rock office and leaves behind a family including two elementary school-aged children.

A GoFundMe account was set up by the Colorado State Patrol to help raise money for the family.


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