Patrol nabs 560-pound cache of marijuana

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The driver, identified as Jimmy Bellanca, 51, of Cleveland, was proceeding west on the Ohio Turnpike shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday at about 65 miles per hour when he swerved to get off at the Exit 13 interchange, according to the patrol.

Losing control, Bellanca's rented Chevrolet Blazer overturned, rolling "probably as many as four times," Sgt. Charles Veppert, the investigating officer told the Record-Courier.

A search inside the vehicle turned up nine duffel bags containing marijuana compressed into bricks.

Officers investigating the accident informed Bellanca he was under arrest, but before being able to question him, Bellanca's condition worsened and he was transported by ambulance to St. Luke's Hospital in Solon. From there, he was taken by LifeFlight to Cleveland Metropolitan Hospital, where his condition Friday evening was termed, "serious."

At the time of the accident, Bellanca was carrying a stolen handgun, a Taurus 44-Special, the Patrol said.

Though the accident occurred during rush hour traffic volume, no other vehicles were hit, "but there were many witnesses," Veppert said.

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