CLEVELAND - Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Kenneth Velez, 48, was killed after being struck during a traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.
Velez was conducting a stop when he was hit while outside of his patrol car on I-90 westbound near the Warren Road exit.
“This is a tragedy for the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel Paul Pride said. “Our prayers go out to the Velez family during this difficult time.”
“I’m shocked,” said Bob Georgevich, who played on the same baseball team with Velez in high school. "He was a very nice guy, took me on as a friend which I really appreciated, just a class act all the way.”
Georgevich says Velez loved his job and was well liked by his co-workers, but he lived for his three children. In fact they were all Kenny talked about the last time they saw each other a few weeks ago.
“So proud of them playing sports,” said Georgevich, “I just feel bad for his family and kids. God bless them, it’s horrible.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson released a statement:
“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.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich released the following statement:
“I am saddened by the loss of Trooper Kenneth Velez, and my prayers go out for his family and Ohio’s troopers and law enforcement officers who lost a colleague today. This tragedy reminds us of the risks courageously born every day by the men and women of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and all law enforcement so that we can be safe. Please join me in lifting up Trooper Velez’s family, friends and colleagues in your prayers and in extending thanks to the men and women in law enforcement who serve Ohio with such dedication.”
Velez graduated with the 118th academy class in November of 1989.
He is survived by his three children.