In Ohio in the United States, 24-year-old Stephan R. Elash almost perished from choking on a bag of cannabis after a policeman pulled him over. The dashcam of State Trooper Charles Hoskin caught the episode, which took place on Saturday July 3 2021. The footage was released on the Twitter page of the Ohio State Patrol the following Thursday.

The Heimlich manoeuvre looks like this. Photo: Maniobra de Heimlich

The Heimlich manoeuvre looks like this. Photo: Maniobra de Heimlich

In the video, Hoskin forces a white Chevy Malibu sedan to pull over because it was speeding, doing 94 mph in a 70-mph zone. This occurred in Portage County, about 30 miles from Cleveland. Hoskin enquires, “Where are you going in such a hurry?” With Elash still in the car, Hoskin then asks him whether he is OK and if he can breathe.

Hoskin instructs Elash to get out of the car and then asks him again if he can breathe. When Elash, who had no shirt on, exits the vehicle, he bends over, obviously in distress. Hoskin realises he’s choking and performs the Heimlich manoeuvre twice. Seconds later, Elash spits out a bag of cannabis.

“What did you swallow?” enquires Hoskin, earning the response “A gramme of weed, officer. I’m sorry.” Hoskin instructs Elash to sit down and calls for an ambulance.

As Elash sits on the ground after the close call, Hoskin informs him that an ambulance is on the way to treat him “just to check you out, make sure everything’s good.” “It’s a minor misdemeanour. You want to die over a minor misdemeanour?” remarks Hoskin. The man replies in the negative, to which Hoskin responds, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” Elash faced charges of speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. Possessing a bag of cannabis was, as Hoskin stated, a misdemeanour carrying a maximum fine of $150 (£108). It made the news as far away as Strylia.

The Ohio State Patrol’s tweet warned people not to swallow a bag of cannabis when pulled over to prevent a trooper from finding it. It added, “Luckily, Tpr. Hoskin from our Ravenna Post was alert and able to assist the man who was choking on a bag of illegal marijuana.” One user termed Hoskin a “hero” while another wrote “Bravo” and the comment of a third was “Nice work! God bless.”

Cannabis is legal in Ohio for medical but not recreational purposes. There will be a referendum on whether to legalise it for recreational use later this year. Ohio would be the 19th state to do so, not counting Washington, DC, and Guam.

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