Later this year the man accused of striking and killing a state trooper could once again have his freedom.
On Thursday, a jury found Joshua Gaspar, 37, not guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide in the death of Trooper Kenneth Velez.
Velez had been running radar in the berm of I-90 west at the time of the crash in September, 2016.
A recovering addict, Gaspar had doctor-prescribed methadone in his system and faced a total of 10 charges.
Over the past few weeks, his attorneys argued the trooper’s actions were dangerous as he stood outside his cruiser to catch cars. They also questioned the objectivity of the investigation, since Velez’s own post investigated his death.
“It’s been a hard 11 months, it’s been a nightmare,” Gaspar’s attorney, John Sinn, said. “People said ‘he was drunk,’ people said ‘he was high, he ran from the scene, that he was speeding.’”
The legal team maintained throughout that none of that was true.
“For Josh to be found not responsible for this accident, and that’s what it was an accident, for the jury to agree, I think is a big load off for him and his family,” Sinn said.
Even though Sinn said the jury finally got the truth, he said the case continues to weigh heavily on his client.
“I think he’s got a lot of things that’s going through his mind. He’s going to have to deal with this throughout the rest of his life,” Sinn said, “if he had only swerved right instead of left.”
The jury did find Gaspar guilty of driving with a suspended license and tampering with records, which are misdemeanors. He had lied on documents to obtain his Ohio driver’s license while his license was suspended in Alabama.
Gaspar will remain in the Cuyahoga County jail until his sentencing September 8th. His attorney said he could be released soon after that due to time already served.
© 2017 WKYC-TV