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Man charged with posing as officer, stealing car after beating driver

A 44-year-old Sayreville man has been charged with posing as a police officer, beating a female motorist and stealing her car in Edison before crashing head-on into another vehicle in Sayreville.

John Spina, 44, of Sayreville, was charged with attempted murder, carjacking, two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon, two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of impersonation of a law enforcement officer and being a certain person prohibited from having a weapon due to a prior, unrelated criminal offense, according to a joint statement released by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, Chief Thomas J. Bryan of the Edison Police Department and Chief John J. Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department.

Spina was charged during an investigation by Detective Leslie Yackel of the Edison Police Department, Detective Brian Braile of the Sayreville Police Department and Detective Erik Larsen of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

During the investigation, it was determined that the defendant allegedly approached the female motorist in the parking lot of the Wick Plaza shopping mall on Route 1 in Edison around 1:16 p.m. Jan. on 10.

Spina allegedly showed the woman a badge and a gun. When the woman rolled down her car window, Spina reportedly began punching her, got into her car and continued punching her before she was able to flee, according to officials.

The woman was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she was treated and released.

Spina then allegedly drove from the scene in the woman’s car, which later was located on Washington Road in Sayreville, where police pursued the defendant, who reportedly fled, sideswiping two on-coming vehicles and striking the third vehicle head-on, according to the statement.

Detectives determined that the head-on crash rose to the level of the attempted murder charge, officials said.

The driver of the third vehicle was taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, where she was treated and released.

Spina allegedly continued to drive from the scene and fled from the stolen car when it ran off the road and became lodged in shrubbery on the side of the road. Police followed the suspect and quickly apprehended him, according to reports.

Anyone with information is asked to call Yackel at 732-404-8609, Braile at 732-525-5432 or Larsen at 732-745-3263.

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