Woman fakes heart attack emergency to get out of cell phone ticket

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By Gregory Trotter, Tribune reporter

Deerfield police say a Northbrook woman invented a story about her mother having a medical emergency to explain to cops why she was talking on her cell phone while driving.

Janet Chencinski, 67, of the 100 block of Avon Road in Northbrook, was allegedly driving while talking on her cell phone near the intersection of Waukegan and Lake Cook roads in Deerfield at about 4:25 p.m. on Wednesday, according to Deerfield Deputy Chief Tom Keane.

When police pulled her over, Chencinski allegedly told the officer she was talking to her mother, who lives in Skokie and was very sick and suffering from “heart pain,” according to a Deerfield police release.

Chencinski told the officer it was a medical emergency, according to the release. The officer let Chencinski go with a warning, called 911 and requested an ambulance be sent to the mother’s house.

But after Skokie first-responders arrived at Chencinski’s mother’s home, they found the woman was fine and had not spoken with her daughter that day, the release said.

“We figured we better help her out and get some medical assistance to her mother. And it turned out she was fine,” Keane said. “She was just using that as a ploy to get out of a ticket.”

Early Thursday morning, Chencinski turned herself in to Deerfield police and was charged with using a cell phone while driving, obstructing a police officer and disorderly conduct, authorities said.

Chencinski could not immediately be reached for comment.

Under the new state law banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving, medical emergencies are considered to be an exemption, Keane said.

“There was no reason to not believe her,” Keane said.

The new cell phone law went into effect in January; the fine for first-time offenders is $75.

Chencinski was released on bond and is due in the Park City branch court on May 6, authorities said.

gtrotter@tribune.com

Twitter: @NorthShoreTrib

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