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Patrol: Man choked on pot during stop

A Campbell man is facing charges after a traffic stop this month on an interstate, which left him choking on a bag of marijuana, the state patrol said.

Stephan Elash, 24, faces charges of possession of marijuana, speeding and a seat belt violation, according to Portage County Municipal Court records and the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Ravenna post.

According to Lt. Scott Loive, Elash was stopped for traveling 94 mph on Interstate 76 westbound at 8:39 p.m. July 3 near mile marker 37 in Rootstown Township.

Trooper Charles Hoskin noticed Elash was trying to drink water, but was expelling it and “showing signs of distress,” Loive said.

Hoskin managed to get Elash out of the car and perform the Heimlich maneuver, causing Elash to then expel a bag of suspected marijuana, according to the patrol. Elash later admitted it was marijuana, and appeared nervous, Loive said.

It’s estimated the bag contained about 5 grams, Loive said.

A video of the incident on the OSHP Facebook page shows Hoskin pulling Elash over, passing a speed limit sign of 70 mph.

He asks Elash where he’s going in a hurry, then ask if Elash is all right, and if he can breathe.

Hoskin performs the Heimlich while traffic zooms by.

Elash tells Hoskin he “swallowed weed,” and apologizes. Hoskin tells Elash an ambulance will be arriving to check him out, and Elash apologizes again.

Throughout the incident, Hoskin remained calm, which Loive said is how the trooper is — even off the clock. “That’s how he is,” Loive said. “He was just making sure (Elash) was OK.”

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