Widow of trooper begs drivers to follow the 'Move Over' law

By  | 

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KKTV) - "My daughters ask me, 'Mommy, why did Daddy have to die?" Velma Donahue said through tears.

"Mommy, why didn't the man move over or slow down when he was driving by Daddy?"

She said the two young girls are grappling with difficult questions she can't answer herself.

"This tragedy could have been avoided easily if only the driver had paid attention and followed the law."

Just one day after Thanksgiving, Trooper Cody Donahue was investigating a crash on I-25 when a truck slammed into him, killing him almost instantly. The driver of that truck is accused of not moving over when he came upon the original crash site.

Velma Donahue teamed up with state and national organizations on Tuesday to launch a new campaign to make sure drivers know and understand Colorado’s Move Over law.

It requires drivers to move over or slow down when driving by stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles.

"It's simple, it's easy and it matters," the grieving widow said.

Moving over when you see law enforcement lights, or even tow truck lights, gives the officers space to work. It saves lives -- and could have saved Cody Donahue that day.

The driver accused of killing him, Noe Gamez-Ruiz, is facing several charges including criminally negligent homicide.

In a span of 18 months, three Colorado State Troopers were killed by a vehicle in the line of duty.

State and national agencies hope by spreading the Move Over message, reckless deaths might end.

Nationally, the most recent data from 2015 shows 52 law enforcement officers were killed in traffic-related incidents.