CLEVELAND-- Mourners gathered for a procession for a fallen Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Friday afternoon.
Trooper Kenneth Velez was conducting a traffic stop in the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 in Cleveland when he was hit by a car on Thursday. The 48-year-old father of three died as a result of his injuries.
A procession took his body from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office to a funeral home in Lorain. Law enforcement officers lined the route to pay their respects.
The Lakewood Fire Department raised an American flag from an overpass in Velez's honor.
They were joined by Lakewood police officers.
“The highway patrol supports us on the freeway, and we just wanted to show our support for the highway patrol,” Lakewood Fire Chief Scott Gilman said. “Makes me proud to be in this profession. In a matter of 20 minutes we were able to get Lakewood police officers, Lakewood Fire Department, Rocky River, Westlake, we all got up to a bridge to show our respect.”
Drivers passing by the display honked their horns. Some pulled off the highway to watch the procession.
“Almost heart-wrenching. It's just so sad, so sad,” said Dave Bosma, of Bay Village.
The man accused of hitting Velez, 37-year-old Joshua Gaspar, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.
Velez's funeral will be held on Thursday; a location has not yet been set.