Mistrial in Colorado State Trooper Cody Donahue case

A Douglas County District Court judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the case against the truck driver who struck and killed Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue.

Trooper Cody Donahue (Photo courtesy of the Colorado State Patrol)

The trial for the truck driver, Noe Gamez-Ruiz, was in its third day. A jury was seated Tuesday, and opening statements were heard Wednesday morning. Gamez-Ruiz is charged with criminally negligent homicide in Donahue’s death.

Rob McCallum, a spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Branch, confirmed a mistrial had been declared by Judge Shay Whitaker. The judge made the ruling because the prosecution failed to disclose critical information to the defense, McCallum said.

A motions hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 26, and a new trial date has been set for Feb. 12, said Vikki Migoya, a spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

George Brauchler, district attorney for Douglas County, said the mistrial was declared when a pathologist was on the stand, testifying for the prosecution. She stated an opinion that had not been a part of her original report, Brauchler said.

Defense attorneys already had raised an issue after they did not learn about another prosecution witness’ commercial driver’s license until he had taken the stand.

Brauchler was not in the courtroom at the time, but had spoken with his deputies who were prosecuting the the case.

The mistrial was difficult for Donahue’s widow, Velma Donahue, who already had listened to gruesome testimony about her husband’s death, Brauchler said. Now she will have to hear it again.

“I’m disappointed,” Brauchler said. “We’re going to figure out a way to keep moving forward. We’ll come back in February and try to get justice.”

Harvey Steinberg, Gamez-Ruiz’s attorney, declined to discuss the mistrial.

Prosecutors were arguing that Gamez-Ruiz had been careless while driving a semitrailer on northbound Interstate 25 near Castle Rock on Nov. 25, 2016, when he drifted toward the interstate shoulder, where Donahue was working a single-car accident. Donahue was standing between a wrecked Honda Civic and the solid white line that separates the shoulder from the moving traffic lanes when he was struck.

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