CLEVELAND - Bond has been set for $500,000 for the man accused of driving under the influence of drugs, then striking and killing a trooper on I-90 on Thursday.
Joshua J. Gaspar, 37, of Columbia Station, appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court on Saturday morning, where bond was set. The defendant said nothing during his appearance.
According to a Cleveland Municipal Court spokesman, Gaspar was arrested at the scene where Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth Velez was struck and killed.
Gaspar was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash and was later charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.
OSHP asked for a high bond, according to court records, because Gaspar was "driving recklessly" at the time of the accident.
Gaspar is scheduled to next appear in court on Tuesday, September 27 at 9 a.m.
According to OSHP, a black 2015 Hyundai struck Velez after swerving toward the berm to avoid another vehicle. The Hyundai’s driver was Gaspar, according to OSHP
"This is a tragedy for the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety,” said Colonel Paul Pride, Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent. “Our prayers go out to the Velez family during this difficult time.”
Velez's visitation will be September 21 at Lorain High School from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Velez was conducting routine traffic enforcement when he was struck. In that incident, Velez, 48, was struck outside his patrol car around 12:52 p.m. Thursday. Velez worked out of the Brook Park OSHP post, where the American flag is now at half-staff.
Velez was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center where he later died from his injuries.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, he was a father of three. He graduated as a member of the 118th academy class in 1989.
WKYC has learned that Gaspar was arrested in Alabama on 2013 on charges of “attempting to commit a controlled substance crime.” Gaspar was paroled to Ohio, where he was raised.
According to the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts, Gaspar has priors for aggravated theft and drug possession.