Conn. cops shock suspect who claims he's V.P. Cheney

Editor's Note -- With an increase in the number of Emotionally Disturbed People (EDPs) on the streets comes an increase in the odds that you too, will be challenged with safely navigating EDP-involved calls. Without training and preparation, this can prove to be a bigger, more dangerous challenge than you might imagine. Here are
5 S.M.A.R.T. tips for approaching the emotionally disturbed.

By Daniel Tepfer
Connecticut Post Online

STRATFORD, Conn. — A man claiming to be Vice President Dick Cheney led authorities on a high-speed chase through town Monday night, colliding with a patrol car before he was shocked with a stun gun and arrested, police said.

John Spernak, 42, of Meadow Street, claimed during his arrest to be the vice president as well as the husband of Nicky Hilton, sister of pop celebrity Paris Hilton, police said. He was charged with attempted first-degree assault, engaging police in a pursuit, reckless driving, criminal mischief, interfering with police and being in a town park after dark.

While in custody, police said, Spernak admitted he wasn't Cheney, but rather Jaclyn Smith, former star of the television show "Charlie's Angels." He was taken to Bridgeport Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Police said officers were patrolling Long Beach after 10 p.m. when they spotted Spernak parked in a 1994 Cadillac Eldorado. Officers approached the car when it suddenly took off at high speed, police said. The car traveled along Main Street, exceeding 90 mph. At Blakeman Place, the Cadillac crashed into the driver's side of a patrol car, and then kept going, police said.

Police said Spernak eventually pulled into his own driveway on Meadow Street. But even then, they said, he refused to get out of the car, forcing an officer to shock him with a stun gun so that he could be placed in handcuffs.

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