DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — The third trial for the driver accused of killing Colorado State Trooper Cody Donahue on the day after Thanksgiving in 2016 is now set to begin on Monday, May 3.
Noe Gamez-Ruiz appeared in Douglas County court for a hearing Thursday morning ahead of his six-day trial which was set to begin on Friday, April 30. It was delayed slightly and will now start the following Monday.
> The video above aired in 2019 when a judge dismissed a charge as part of sanction following the second mistrial.
On the afternoon of Nov. 25, 2016, Donahue was standing on the shoulder of Interstate 25 near Castle Rock working an earlier crash when he was hit by a truck and killed instantly.
According to court documents, Gamez-Ruiz was driving the vehicle that struck Donahue. Prosecutors said he had room to move his commercial box truck into the other lane but did not.
He had pleaded not guilty to criminally negligent homicide and two traffic offenses: one for careless driving and another for careless driving resulting in death.
This trial will be the third for Gamez-Ruiz after the two previous ones ended with mistrials being declared. The first was in September 2018. The second mistrial happened in February 2019 and occurred after testimony had already begun.
Following the second mistrial, Judge Shay Whitaker issued an order to impose sanctions against the 18th Judicial District, which at the time was led by George Brauchler. The sanction included the dismissal of the criminally negligent homicide charge, which was the most serious charge that he faced.
In the ruling, Whitaker said, “the court has now found a pattern of discovery violations” in the case.
She wrote that the violation does not rise to the level of “willful conduct," but continued, “the haphazard preparation of the witnesses, in this case, has resulted in the defendant being deprived of the ability to fully defend himself.”
Nearly seven months after Donahue was killed, legislation in his honor, dubbed the “Move Over for Cody Act,” was signed by then-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The law strengthens the penalties against drivers who do not move over for first responders, maintenance and tow operators who are working on the road.
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