Jaw-Dropping Twist In High Profile “Negligent Homicide” Case Against Truck Driver
Castle Rock, Colorado – For the second time in 6 months the high profile trial of trucker Noe Gamez-Ruiz who is accused of negligently striking and killing Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue in November of 2016 along Interstate 25, has been declared a mistrial.
District Court Judge Shay Whitaker once again declared a mistrial because of failure by the prosecution to disclose critical information to the defense. “That is a soul-sucking outcome,” George Brauchler, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, said at a news conference on Friday. “It’s regrettable and I’m extremely disappointed.”
Brauchler also read from a prepared statement from Velma, Trooper Donahue’s widow. “We are angry and hurt that the justice system is failing to provide justice for Cody,” she wrote. “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. Please remember to move over for Cody.”
Harvey Steinberg, an attorney for Gamez-Ruiz, said the judge made the correct decision yet again. “For the first time yesterday, the investigator who conducted the (crash) reenactment testified that the truck my client was driving was pulling to the right,” Steinberg said. “That has never been disclosed before.”
Brauchler called the failure to disclose this information an “accident” and said the officer’s account was not known to the prosecution, and therefore could not have been disclosed ahead of time.
Gámez-Ruiz admits that the semi he was driving northbound on Interstate 25 near Castle Rock in November 2016 did strike and kill Donahue as he was working a traffic accident, but he says it was an accident and nothing more. “It’s a terrible, tragic accident, but it’s that and nothing more,” Gamez-Ruiz’s defense argued to the jury.
The prosecution argued Gamez-Ruiz should have known better. Gamez-Ruiz has been a professional driver for 20 years and his experience, the prosecution argued, proves his guilt of negligence.
“I think the prosecution has been overzealous in this case,” Steinberg said, “because — I understand their sensitivity that a trooper was killed — I don’t think they’re treating my client fairly the way he should be.”
Brauchler disagrees. “Because of his conduct, we lost a state trooper — a father of two — who was killed by that conduct,” Brauchler retorted. “I do not think the way we approached this case is in any way unfair.”
The jury was shown video of the incident that was recorded in Gamez-Ruiz’s truck as well as Donahue’s dash camera. Gamez-Ruiz was seen to be cooperating with authorities and was found to have not been impaired at the time of the accident on that sunny day.
Judge Whitaker now must decide if the case will move forward, and if so, when a new trial date will be set. That announcement could come as early as next week.
Donahue’s death sparked legislative action in Colorado as Governor John Hickenlooper signed the “Move Over for Cody Act” into law in 2017. The law requires drivers to move over when they see a law enforcement officer, highway worker or tow-truck driver along the side of the road.
To read more of our reporting on this case click HERE. Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow this ongoing story.
Video courtesy of Denver7/YouTube