Dashcam video shows field sobriety test for man accused of killing trooper with car

It was Sept. 15 of last year when Trooper Kenneth Velez was killed while he was out of his car conducting routine traffic enforcement on Route 90 at the Cleveland-Lakewood border. (Source: OSP)
It was Sept. 15 of last year when Trooper Kenneth Velez was killed while he was out of his car conducting routine traffic enforcement on Route 90 at the Cleveland-Lakewood border. (Source: OSP)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The trial for a man charged with the aggravated vehicular homicide of Trooper Kenneth Velez, and driving under the influence of drugs, continued Wednesday.

According to prosecutors, Gaspar took methadone shortly before the crash and didn't have a proper license. The accident happened in September of 2016, on Interstate 90.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Velez was conducting traffic enforcement when he was hit by Gaspar's car.

Gaspar has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.  His defense attorneys, and his doctor, have said that Gaspar was not impaired but had taken a prescribed dose of methadone to address a drug addiction.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Rob Gable, a trained drug recognition expert with the highway patrol, explained to the jury what he saw moments after Velez was hit.

"There was a bloody uniform top that was near the rumble strips," said Gable. "The right outside mirror [of Gaspar's car] was broken there was debris and blood drops everywhere."

Gable said that a witness on the scene said they thought Gaspar was "on something."

Troopers on the scene asked Gaspar to do a voluntary test to see if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Gable adds Gaspar refused and asked to see an attorney.

He said Gaspar later admitted to him he had taken methadone.

"He said, 'well I'm on a methadone maintenance program and I'm just not sure how that's going to look in the test and I said I'm not sure how I'm going to look for you either," said Gable.

Prosecutors presented dashcam video showing Gaspar performing sobriety tests at the scene. Gable said Gaspar did not perform well on the sobriety tests like walking a line heel to toe. Gable said Gaspar stepped off of the line and appeared to lose his balance slightly during that test. It was difficult to see that alleged step off in the dashcam video shown in court.

Defense attorney Jon Sinn brought up several cases he said Gable had erroneously said someone was under the influence of drugs, only to find out later that the person did not test positive for drugs. Gable replied by stating in several of those cases the suspects had admitted to using drugs like heroin and Xanax, and the drugs had been metabolized out of their blood by the time tests were performed.

Sinn also asked Gable, "Isn't there some danger to having police officers doing medical tests when they don't have medical training?"

Gable replied, "These are tests that the medical field uses that don't require medical training to do them."

Defense attorneys also asked Gable multiple times if he and Velez were friends. Gable said multiple times that they were not and had never spent time outside of work. Both troopers were stationed out of the same post.

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