CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is mourning the loss of Trooper Kenneth Velez, of the Cleveland Post.
Velez died Thursday following a traffic crash near Lakewood. The crash occurred on Interstate Route 90 near mile post 164 at approximately 12:52 p.m.
Velez was conducting traffic enforcement when he was struck outside of his patrol car.
"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, 48, graduated as a member of the 118th Academy class in November 1989. He is survived by his three children. His son is an air traffic controller in the Air Force stationed in Korea.
"He's been a family friend. He's the godfather to my son," said retired trooper A.J. Torres, who worked with Velez for 15 years.
Torres spent hours at MetroHealth Medical Center on Thursday hoping and praying that his longtime friend would pull through. Sadly, that didn't happen. Torres says his friend will be missed.
"Awesome guy, couldn't ask for a better guy," he said.
His death hit his fellow troopers very hard. They gathered at Metro, hugging, supporting each other after this loss in their brotherhood.
Velez's family also came to the hospital to mourn their loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and with the loved ones of the Trooper who tragically lost his life today. The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be the investigating agency in this incident and the Cleveland Division of Police will support in any way requested.
"The law enforcement officers of Ohio are grieving the loss of Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Kenneth Velez, who was killed in an on-duty traffic crash in Northern Ohio today. We offer our support and our prayers to his family. This is just the latest reminder of the difficult and dangerous work of those who have chosen to make public safety their career."
"On behalf of the citizens of the City of Cleveland, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences at this tragic loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trooper Kenneth Velez."
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