ROOTSTOWN, Ohio — The Ohio State Highway Patrol has released video of a recent traffic stop that ended with a trooper giving the Heimlich maneuver to the man that got pulled over, this after the man swallowed a bag of marijuana and choked.
The video was posted on the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Facebook page. It was recorded on the state trooper's dash cam inside the patrol car, and you can see the incident unfold as it happened on the side of a Rootstown highway.
After the state trooper put his lights on and initiated the traffic stop, you can see the trooper walk up to the driver's side window to speak with him. Then, you see the man get out of the car and begin choking. That's when the state trooper, now identified as Charles Hoskin, stands behind him and performs the Heimlich maneuver on him to stop his choking. After a few times, the bag flies out of the man's mouth and he begins to breathe again.
"Seconds to minutes really matter in those kinds of situations," Dr. Ryan Marino, a University Hospitals medical toxicologist, said.
Marino adds a swallowed object such as a bag of marijuana could get stuck and block your airways, but also poses a more serious threat.
"The longer it sits there, the more likely it is to cause your ossiphageous to rupture and give you problems," he explained. "I definitely wouldn't recommend swallowing bags of marijuana."
Later, the video shows the man sitting on the ground. Hoskin informs him he has called an ambulance and it is on the way, just to check the man out.
"I'm sorry," the man says to the state trooper in the video.
Hoskin responds, "It's a minor misdemeanor. You want to die over a minor misdemeanor?"
"Knowing what the criminal penalties are, it really was unnecessary," criminal defense attorney Ian Friedman said.
If you're caught with a small amount of recreational marijuana, the penalty comes as severe as a fine and no incarceration, depending on your criminal history.
"To avoid that fine, this young man really risked his life," Friedman said. "Literally."
Both Marino and Friedman said the consequences legally outweigh the consequences of swallowing something you shouldn't.
"Ask yourself if it's truly worth it to risk swallowing something to put yourself in a position that he found himself in," Friedman said, adding the man could also potentially be charged with tampering with evidence (although it's unlikely).
The man who swallowed the bag has indeed been given a misdemeanor summons for illegal possession of marijuana, and also received citations for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt.