Section of I-90 named for Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper killed in the line of duty

Trooper Velez OHP

A section of Interstate 90 will bear the name of a Lorain County law enforcement officer who was killed in the line of duty.  The stretch of I-90 from Warren Road to Hilliard Road in Cuyahoga County will be named after Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth “Kenny V.” Velez, 48.  The Lorain native died from injuries he sustained in a traffic crash on Sept. 15, 2016.  The roadway will be known as the “Trooper Kenny Velez Memorial Highway.”  The tribute was tucked in among 28 bills that Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law on Jan. 4.  Velez was not mentioned by name in the news announcement that Kasich’s office published that about the numerous bills.  Kasich used the social media website Twitter to pay tribute to Velez and to state Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, a cousin of Velez and sponsor of the bill to honor the fallen trooper.  Ramos also used Twitter to respond to the governor’s action “to honor Lorain Co & Ohio’s hero, Trooper Kenny Velez.”  “I didn’t do that because he was my cousin, I did that because he was my constituent,” Ramos said on Jan. 7.  “It meant a lot to me.”  Last year, Ramos recalled the number of people who came out for Velez’ funeral as the most people he ever saw gathered in once place in Lorain County at one time.  “It was powerful,” Ramos said.  “He knew everybody and everybody knew him.  Everybody liked him.”  Ramos explained how the legislation came about and the legislative procedure in Columbus.  After the death of Velez, Ramos said he consulted Velez’ children about a roadside tribute to their father. They approved and he introduced legislation in 2016.  The bill for Velez had committee approval in the House, Ramos said.  He added that Patrol Superintendent Col. Paul A. Pride was a Patrol Academy classmate of Velez and Pride testified in favor of the name change.  However, the bill was on hold during campaign season and the year-end rush of the statehouse, so the tribute to Velez was folded into a Senate Bill for quicker approval.  Once that happened, it landed among the bills Kasich signed last week, Ramos said.  The governor and lawmakers sometimes will have signing ceremonies for people to attend in Columbus, but Velez’ family could not attend last week’s gubernatorial signing on short notice, Ramos said.  Another ceremonial signing and meeting between Kasich and Velez’ family may yet take place, depending on everyone’s schedules, Ramos said.