Godson of fallen Ohio trooper receives special badge number
LORAIN, Ohio (AP) — The godson of an Ohio trooper who was fatally struck by a motorist is wearing the fallen officer’s badge number as he begins work as a rookie with the State Highway Patrol.
21-year-old Trooper A.J. Torres, after completing his training, was assigned badge number 511, which Trooper Kenneth Velez wore during his Highway Patrol career.
Torres says he was initially given a different badge number and was surprised by the gesture on the day he was pinned.
Torres has already completed his first shift with the Highway Patrol’s Elyria post.
The 48-year-old Velez was killed last September when he was struck by a motorist while conducting traffic enforcement on Interstate 90 in Cleveland.
Prosecutors say Joshua Gaspar, 37, was driving under the influence last September when he hit Trooper Kenneth Velez who was conducting a traffic stop on I-90 near Warren Road.
Gaspar originally faced two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of driving under the influence, but as the investigation continued, he was re-indicted on additional charges of driving with an invalid license. That elevates his previous felony charges.
Gaspar is under a court-supervised release which includes GPS monitoring and regular drug testing. He must also not drive.