By Melissa Garcia
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A community is mourning the loss of a state trooper killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon.
Trooper Cody Donahue, an 11-year Colorado State Patrol veteran, was struck and killed at about 1:30 p.m. while investigating a traffic accident on Interstate 25 two miles south of Castle Rock.
“Cody was a really good kid, a good family man,” said Major Steve Garcia of the Colorado State Patrol.
Investigators said that Donahue was outside of his vehicle on northbound I-25 just south of the Plum Creek Parkway exit when a passing commercial food carrier truck hit and killed him.
Donahue died at the scene. Responding officers covered his body with a U.S. flag before saluting and escorting him away in procession.
A chaplain called out Donahue’s end of watch on police radios.
He leaves behind a wife and their two elementary school aged daughters. A GoFundMe account had been set up to help the family.
Deputies detained the truck driver. He’s been identified as Noe Gamez-Ruiz, 41, from Denver. He was “arrested shortly after the accident and was processed into the Douglas County Detention Facility. Gamez-Ruiz has posted bond early Saturday morning and is no longer in custody.”
Investigators shut down I-25 northbound between Tomah Road and Castle Rock for the afternoon and most of the evening to gather evidence from the scene of the crash.
“We don’t call them accidents for a reason,” said Trooper Josh Lewis of the Colorado State Patrol. “This was a crash. And crashes, especially like this, can absolutely be avoided.”
Officials sent out a plea to drivers.
“When you see these troopers and you see these law enforcement officers that are out there just trying to do their job, please move over,” said S.P. Johnson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
Trooper Donahue lost his life just over a year after the death of Trooper Jaimie Jursevics, who was hit and killed in similar circumstances nearby.
Investigators planned to look at dash camera video from inside two CSP trooper vehicles, as well as video from inside the truck that hit Donahue.
Statement From The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
Gamez-Ruiz has been charged with the following:
Careless Driving Resulting in Death, Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way to Emergency Vehicle.
Gamez-Ruiz was driving a commercial box-truck belonging to U.S. Foods when he struck Trooper Donahue. Gamez-Ruiz remained on scene until additional emergency responders arrived.
Our hearts go out to the family of Trooper Donahue and to the Colorado State Patrol. This is a tragic and avoidable crime. We would like to remind drivers that if you see an officer on the side of the road please slow down and move at least one lane away from the officer, if possible. This is Colorado state law.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of the surrounding emergency responders for their assistance in this unfortunate incident.
This is an open and ongoing investigation. No further information will be released at this time.
Contribute to the Cody Donahue Memorial Fund through GoFundMe.