Judge wants to know if naked suspect in lake is OK for trial

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Criminal proceedings were suspended Wednesday against Dennis Sherell, who crashed his car into Truxtun Lake during a police pursuit and swam to shore naked.

Sherell will undergo evaluation to assure he's mentally competent to stand trial, per a judge's order. A hearing on the doctor's report is set for May 8.

Sherell led law enforcement officers on a 50-minute chase in August. Kern County deputies attempted a traffic stop at Snow and Norris roads, but Sherell didn't stop.

He was wanted on suspicion of stealing of a coin machine in police jurisdiction.

The chase involved county deputies, police and California Highway Patrol officers weaving through parts of northwest, southwest and central Bakersfield, reaching 85 mph before Sherell drove into the lake. He had also driven over a pair of spike strips during the pursuit.

Sherell wasn't injured in the crash and was able to swim to the shore - naked - on his own, the sheriff's office said at the time.