- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) - A driver accused of hitting and killing a Colorado State Patrol trooper who was investigating a traffic crash on Interstate 25 has been charged and released from jail, authorities said Saturday as the community mourned the 11-year veteran of the force.

Investigators said Noe Gamez-Ruiz of Denver was charged with careless driving resulting in the death of Trooper Cody Donahue and failure to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. The trooper died Friday after he was struck by a commercial vehicle while investigating a crash on the interstate south of Castle Rock. Donahue was outside of his vehicle when he was hit by the truck, which belonged to a commercial food service company.

Gamez-Ruiz remained at the scene. He posted bond early Saturday and was released from jail. He could not immediately be reached for comment, and records don’t list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

“This is a tragic and avoidable crime,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Teller said in a news release urging motorists to slow down and change lanes when officers are working on the side of the road.

Donahue, a husband and father of two young children, was the third Colorado trooper fatally struck by a vehicle in 18 months.

Taylor Thyfault, a 21-year-old State Patrol cadet, was killed in May 2015 when he and a trooper were hit while trying to stop a fleeing car near Longmont.

The driver in that crash was convicted of first-degree murder and is set to be sentenced Tuesday.

In November 2015, Trooper Jaimie Jursevics, 33, was hit and killed by a drunk driver while she was investigating a crash near Castle Rock. A retired Army colonel was sentenced to eight years in prison for hitting her and fleeing the scene.

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