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Driver indicted in crash that killed trooper

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A Columbia Station driver who allegedly struck and killed an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper in Cleveland earlier this month has been indicted.

Joshua Gaspar, 37, is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and a single count of driving under the influence.

The indictment was announced Monday, a day before Gaspar was due in Cleveland Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing where investigators would have had to detail the evidence they gathered so far in the death of 48-year-old Trooper Kenneth Velez.

Joe Frolik, a spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, declined to say what Gaspar was under the influence of when he allegedly hit Velez about 12:45 p.m. Sept. 15 while Velez was conducting traffic enforcement on Interstate 90.

Documents filed in Cleveland Municipal Court have said that Gaspar was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash but didn’t specify what those drugs were.

Troopers have said that Velez was outside of his patrol car on the berm when Gaspar swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle, and his 2015 Hyundai Veloster struck Velez.

Velez, who lived in Lorain and is survived by three children, was buried in Calvary Cemetery on Thursday after a memorial service at Lorain County Community College that was attended by hundreds of friends, family and law enforcement from across the country.

Velez had previously worked at patrol posts in Elyria and Medina but had been working in Cleveland post at the time of his death.

Frolik said Gaspar, who remains jailed in lieu of a $500,000 bond, will likely be arraigned later this week.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.



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