CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KKTV) Colorado State Patrol is reeling after the sudden death of an 11-year veteran, who was killed Friday afternoon when he was hit by a truck during a crash investigation.
"We're pulling together as an agency and as one family, both blood and blue, in order to overcome and comfort one another," said Josh Lewis with CSP.
Cody Donahue was investigating a crash on I-25, two miles south of Castle Rock, when he was hit by a passing food truck. Officials said he was outside his vehicle at the time and was wearing his reflective vest.
Donahue died at the scene, leaving behind two little girls and a wife. Sister station KCNC reported a flag was draped over Donahue's body before it was taken from the crash site.
Northbound I-25 was closed for nearly seven hours and reopened at about 8 p.m.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office, who is heading the crash investigation, announced Saturday that they had arrested the man behind the wheel of the food truck. Identified as 41-year-old Noe Gamez-Ruiz of Denver, the suspect faces charges of careless driving resulting in death and failure to yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicle. Authorities said Gamez-Ruiz remained at the scene after the crash and was cooperating with the investigation.
Gamez-Ruiz bonded out of jail Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, personnel with State Patrol are grappling with the latest in what is become a growing list of tragedies to hit the department.
"Needless to say, it has been a difficult couple of years between Trooper Thyfalut, Trooper Jursevics and our trooper today," Lewis said. "It's a matter of being able to comfort one another and being able to come together and understand why we do what we do."
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. In November 2015, 33-year-old Trooper Jaimie Jursevics was hit and killed by a drunk driver while she was investigating a crash near Castle Rock.
"We don't call them accidents for a reason; this was a crash," Lewis said. "Crashes, especially like this one can absolutely be avoided. It's a matter of being vigilant, watching out, taking your time and being completely aware of what's going on around you."
"When you see these troopers and you see those law enforcement officers that are out there just trying to do their job, please move over," said Deputy Chief Steve Johnson with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. "Give them the room that they need because if not, this is what happens and it continues to happen on a regular basis."
Investigators say there were cameras on the truck that hit the trooper, as well as from the two troopers' vehicles at the scene of the crash. Authorities care hoping that video will provide more clues into exactly how the crash that killed Donahue unfolded.
But one thing is certain, the sheriff's office said: the tragedy could have been prevented.
"This is a tragic and avoidable crime. We would like to remind drivers that if you see an officer on the side of the road please slow down and move at least one lane away from the officer, if possible. This is Colorado state law," DCSO said in a statement Saturday after announcing Gamez-Ruiz's arrest.
The Colorado State Patrol is asking for thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Donahue's family, who have set up a GoFundMe page to help his wife and children, said the tragedy was unimaginable.
"Our hearts are broken."