CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The man charged in connection with the death of a Colorado state trooper appeared in court on Monday after being released on a $500 bond.
Noe Gamez-Ruiz is described as beyond distraught by friends. He is a father and an 18-year veteran driver with his company, US Foods.
It was Friday around 1:30 p.m. when the crash happened south of Castle Rock on Interstate 25. Trooper Cody Donahue was investigating a previous crash when he was allegedly struck by the semi driven by Gamez-Ruiz.
Court documents indicate another Colorado State Patrol officer said the truck swerved out of the driving lane onto the shoulder striking the trooper.
At this point Gamez-Ruiz is facing only misdemeanor traffic charges of careless driving resulting in death and failure to yield for an emergency vehicle.
“The way our laws are set up, had the conduct — we believe — had it exceeded careless and become even reckless, then its potential that the charge could be vehicular homicide — but we don’t think we have it,” said George Brauchler, Arapahoe County District Attorney.
The investigation is not yet over. Video from cameras from the State Patrol and on the truck itself are being examined.
Donahue, a married father of two young daughters, is described in his obituary as so honest he even once gave his wife a ticket.
“I think that our laws across the spectrum are largely weak when it comes to traffic,” Brauchler said. “They make no exception whether the person killed is a civilian or law enforcement in the line of duty. It makes no distinction.”
Gamez-Ruiz reportedly stopped immediately after the crash and was given a breathalyzer test. At this point there is no reason to believe that alcohol was involved. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted of the charges he currently faces.
The “Celebration of Life” for Donahue is scheduled to take place Friday at 11 a.m. at the Denver First Church of the Nazarene located at 3800 East Hampden Avenue.
Contribute to the Cody Donahue Memorial Fund through GoFundMe.