Driver acquitted of vehicular homicide in trooper’s death

Prosecutors said Joshua Gaspar lied to get a driver's license and took methadone shortly before driving

Trooper Kenneth Velez, the Highway Patrol trooper killed in Lakewood after he was struck on the side of Interstate 90.
Trooper Kenneth Velez

CLEVELAND (AP) – A driver accused of fatally hitting a state trooper along a Cleveland highway has been acquitted of vehicular homicide charges.

Jurors on Thursday also found 38-year-old Joshua Gaspar not guilty of charges including operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs in the Sept. 15 crash that killed Trooper Kenneth Velez. Gaspar was found guilty of misdemeanors, including falsification and tampering with records.

Prosecutors alleged Gaspar lied to get a driver’s license and took methadone shortly before driving.

The Columbia Station man’s attorney argued the crash was an accident. Defense attorney Jon Sinn said the methadone was prescribed for an addiction to painkillers Gaspar developed after injuring his back and didn’t affect his ability to drive.

Sinn said Thursday after court that Gaspar “will face the consequences of his actions.”

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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