DENVER — The man involved in a November 2016 crash that killed Colorado State Trooper Cody Donahue was sentenced to jail time Friday.
Noe Gamez-Ruiz, 46, was sentenced to 30 days in jail with one day of jail credit, though the judge is allowing him to report to jail Monday. He’ll also be required to serve two years of probation, complete 200 hours of useful public service work, pay all fees and cost and court ordered restitution, maintain verifiable employment and attend counseling and mental health sessions.
George Brauchler, the former 18th Judicial District Attorney, was sworn in for the day's proceedings. He told Denver7 it was important for him to see the case to completion even thought he wished for a different outcome.
"When the maximum sentence we have available to us for a state trooper who did nothing wrong — simply trying to perform his duties — is one year, and we get one-twelfth of that sentence, it doesn't feel like justice to me, but I'm not the judge."
"What's important is that the community understands when you engage in careless behavior and that results in loss of life, you will be held accountable," Colorado State Patrol Colonel Matthew Packard said, "In our system, accountability is jail and he needed to go to jail . And a 30-day sentence, sure I wish it was more, but he got 30 days, and that's what we'll deal with."
A jury convicted Gamez-Ruiz in May on one count of careless driving – passing of an emergency vehicle resulting in death and one count of failure to stay in his lane. He was found not guilty of one count of careless driving resulting in death.
The case stemmed from a crash along I-25 near Castle Rock on Nov. 26, 2016 when a semi-truck with Gamez-Ruiz behind the wheel drifted over the shoulder line and hit Donahue, killing him. Donahue was investigating another crash when the accident happened.
Gamez-Ruiz was also originally charged with criminally negligent homicide, but there were two mistrials in the case stemming from prosecutorial discovery violations. After the second mistrial, the judge dismissed the felony charge.
Lawmakers created the Move Over for Cody Act following Donahue's death, which requires drivers to move over a lane if emergency or highway workers are present.
Denver7 reporter CB Cotton contributed to this report.