[Watch LawNewz Network coverage of the trial in the player above, with in-studio analysis. For a direct feed of this trial, see the player at the bottom of this article]
The trial of Joshua Gaspar continues on Tuesday 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. Testimony is expected to resume at 9:00 am ET. Watch live in the player above.
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.
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.
On Tuesday, Richard Defranco, the doctor who prescribed methadone to Gaspar, took the stand. He said that the methadone he prescribed was in liquid form, which could take hours to reach peak absorption. Gaspar had taken methadone just 14 minutes prior to the crash. However, he did acknowledge that some patients get take-home doses, in which case he wouldn’t know when they took it.
Dr. Defranco also addressed the question of whether Gaspar might have been impaired from methadone when he was driving. He said that generally, methadone does not cause impairment and that patients on methadone can drive as well as those who are not. He did, however, stop short of saying that it’s impossible to be impaired by it. Dr. Defranco mentioned that there have been studies about opioids and their effects on driving, and how it is safe to drive while on them. He also discussed Gaspar’s dosage of 70 mg of methadone each day, which he said is a moderate dose.
Stay with LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
[Image via Cleveland City Jail]