After jury selection went longer than expected on Tuesday, the trial of Joshua Gaspar begins with opening statements on Wednesday in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Gaspar is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide for allegedly striking and killing Ohio State Trooper Kenneth Velez on September 15, 2016, while driving under the influence.
Gaspar is not accused of being drunk, rather the DUI charge stems from him having methadone in his system due to treatment he had just minutes for the accident. Watch live in the player above. Gaspar is facing special upgraded charges due to the alleged homicide of an officer.
A doctor has said that Gaspar had been receiving methadone treatment for years, as he is recovering from an addiction to prescription drugs. The same doctor said that the amount of methadone that Gaspar took would not have caused him to be impaired while driving. Still, police have said that when they found Gaspar after the crash, he showed signs of impairment, including slow speech and confusion. Police records also showed that Gaspar failed several sobriety tests at the scene, including walking and turning, standing on one foot, and the finger-to-nose test.
In addition to charges related to driving under the influence (which includes one count of aggravated vehicular homicide), Gaspar is also facing additional homicide charges for allegedly driving recklessly. Immediately prior to the accident, Gaspar was allegedly driving 78 mph on a road with a speed limit of 60 mph, and he had to swerve when the car in front of him stopped short. Gaspar is also charged with driving with a suspended license.
Stay with LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
[Image via Cleveland City Jail]