CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – A mistrial was declared Friday in the second trial for the man charged in the death of Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue. Donahue died in November 2016 after being hit by a semi-trailer driven by Noe Gamez-Ruiz on Interstate 25 near the Tomah exit.

Noe Gamez-Ruiz (credit: Douglas County)

Noe Gamez-Ruiz (credit: Douglas County)

Donahue was standing in the shoulder of the highway filling out a crash report when he was struck. Gamez-Ruiz was charged with criminally negligent homicide in the deadly crash. Now for the second time his trial has come to a sudden halt.

His widow Velma Donahue described him to CBS4 in a previous interview as “Wonderful, he was amazing. He was a friend father and a husband.”

Cody Donahue (credit: Colorado State Patrol)

Harvey Steinberg, the defendant’s attorney, told CBS4 the mistrial was declared because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence and defense did not find out about it until Thursday.

Noe Gamez-Ruiz with his attorney Harvey Steinburg (credit: CBS)

The mistrial was declared because a deputy testified that the truck pulled to right when he tried to drive it after the crash. The truck’s movement also was described having occurred during a later reenactment. The defense was not informed of the information in advance.

Harvey Steinburg (credit: CBS)

“The DA’s office took responsibility for the mistrial for not knowing that information would come out on the stand,” said Steinberg.

(credit: CBS)

18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said he was anguished by the mistrial.

“It happens twice and not just to any other member of our community, but to a member of our law enforcement family, that is a soul-sucking outcome,” said Brauchler.

George Brauchler (credit: CBS)

“I truly extend my sympathies to the family and to members of the Colorado State Patrol,” said Chief Deputy DA Jason Siers.

Donahue’s widow Velma issued a statement which read, “The family is devastated by today’s outcome. We are angry and hurt that the justice system is failing to provide justice for Cody. The men and women in law enforcement deserve protection, support and knowledge that the laws in place are there to protect them while they protect us.”

The previous trial ended in a mistrial in September 2018. Court officials say the judge made the ruling because the prosecution failed to disclose information to defense lawyers.

Brauchler said the issue arose in that trial while a pathologist was testifying for the prosecution.

(credit: CBS)

Since Donahue’s death, then-Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the Move Over For Cody act which created strict penalties for drivers who don’t move over a lane when passing law enforcement, highway workers or tow truck drivers.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Rick Sallinger

Comments (3)
  1. Wyn Williams says:

    In other words it was a mechanical failure, the driver is innocent of all charges and the prosecution hid the evidence in order to convict an innocent man who by a strange coincidence also happens to be non-white

  2. The prosecuting attorney will refile as soon as they find a better way to cover up any evidence that might weaken their case.

  3. Robert Chase says:

    Repeated prosecutorial misconduct, prejudicial coverage in the media — Mr. Gamez-Ruiz may have been guilty of careless driving resulting in death, but his persecution and public lynching is a travesty of justice; he should be set free and charges dropped. Colorado’s idiotic “move-over” law accomplishes nothing useful; drivers already have an obligation to drive safely at all times and that includes moving out of partially or even potentially obstructed lanes. Police often do not park safely, despite their training, and should never rely on an abstract legal requirement that drivers clear the right lane in the vicinity of traffic stops on the shoulder. Even when they take reasonable precautions, the shoulder is a dangerous place to be, as this case demonstrates.

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