Joshua Gaspar sentenced to 1 year for misdemeanor charges
CLEVELAND – Joshua Gaspar, the man who was behind the wheel when his car struck and killed Ohio State Trooper Kenneth Velez, was sentenced to 12 months behind bars Friday.
A jury found Gaspar not guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide last month, but Gaspar was sentenced on related misdemeanor charges Friday. Those charges include driving with a suspended license and tampering with records.
The court took Gaspar’s history into consideration, including charges of drug possession, theft and drug distribution in Alabama. He was on probation at the time of Velez’s death.
“To be totally honest, I did not know,” Gaspar said of his license being suspended in Alabama as he addressed the court Friday prior to his sentencing. “…I just ask that you be lenient.”
Gaspar, 37, was behind the wheel on Interstate 90 near McKinley Avenue last September when Velez was struck and killed.
Gaspar faced 10 charges and was found not guilty of both the homicide charges relating to Velez’s death as well as driving under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash. A doctor who examined him the following day testified that Gaspar tested negative for all drugs of abuse. He had taken prescription methadone prior to the crash.
The prosecution asked the court to impose a 12-month sentence, the maximum available.
A letter penned by Velez’s daughter was read aloud in court. In that letter, she called Gaspar “a human being that made a mistake.
“What I do wish, like me, is that you take your mistake and learn from it,” she continued. She pleaded for Gaspar to “make good of a horrible situation” by overcoming issues with drug abuse.
A second letter penned by Velez’s mother was also read aloud. In that letter, she asked the court to give Gaspar the maximum sentence possible.
“It is my feeling that Mr. Gaspar got away with killing my son. Justice was not served,” she wrote. “…No sentence you give Gaspar will calm my heart.”
The defense asked for Gaspar’s release, citing that Gaspar has taken responsibility for the incident, despite not being criminally liable.
A portion of I-90 was recently renamed in Velez’s honor.