Highway to be renamed for Velez

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com

A part of Interstate 90 has been dedicated to the memory of state trooper Kenneth Velez, whose family hails from Amherst.

The stretch from Warren Road to Hilliard Road in Cuyahoga County will be christened the “Trooper Kenny Velez Memorial Highway.” No formal ceremony to rename the stretch has been announced.

The provision comes as part of Senate Bill 207, passed late in December by Ohio’s 131st General Assembly.

Velez is one of many late Ohioans honored with memorial roads and bridges this year. Among the names are Marine Cpl. Nathan Anderson, who died in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom; SFC Bobby Lee Estle, killed in 2012 while serving in Afghanistan; and Hilliard police officer Sean Johnson, who died last year while on a motorcycle training exercise.

State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) championed the bill and was thanked on social media by Gov. John Kasich.

Velez, 48, graduated in 1989 from the 118th Academy class and sent his three children to school in Amherst. His son Christian is a current sophomore.

While conducting a traffic stop Sept. 15 near the border of Lakewood and Cleveland, Velez was fatally hit by Joshua Gaspar, a motorist who had swerved to avoid another car.

Gaspar, 37, of Columbia Station, was indicted on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of driving while under the influence. He is still being held on $500,000 bond, with a trial scheduled to begin March 1.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.



By Jason Hawk