Man driving with lights and sirens is not a cop. And that’s illegal.
A video posted to Facebook on Tuesday and shared more than 3,000 times shows what appeared to be an unmarked emergency vehicle quickly passing traffic in the left lane on a Missouri highway.
Its sirens blared.
Lights flashed blue and red.
Some might have believed it was a police officer racing to the scene of the next call.
But that wasn't quite the case.
The St. Charles County Missouri Scanner Traffic Facebook page shared the video, which has since garnered nearly 90,000 views. It also posted a warning to its followers.
"Have you seen this vehicle running lights and sirens on Highway 70, 270, 370 or others? This vehicle is a fraud and not involved with any Law Enforcement Agencies," the post said. "He has been identified and is not a volunteer or anyone with authorization to run lights or sirens. If they try to pull you over, do not stop, call 911 and advise the dispatcher of your situation."
Some commenters claimed they also saw the unmarked car driving around the St. Louis area, passing other vehicles on the highway.
One day later, the St. Charles Police Department announced in a news release they caught the suspected driver traveling on Interstate 70 with "emergency equipment operating." Police told KMOV they received reports of the vehicle — a Hyundai Sonata — driving around again Wednesday with flashing lights and a siren attached to it.
"Officers were aware of previous reports, as well as video of this vehicle operating as an emergency vehicle that had been posted to social network sites (Facebook)," a statement from St. Charles police said. "Officers located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop."
The driver has since been identified by police as Michael D. Wallace, a 25-year-old man from St. Louis, according to online court records.
Wallace was charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer and driving while revoked. He remained in the St. Charles County jail on Thursday with bail set at $10,000, cash only.
Before Wallace was identified as the driver they arrested, a police spokesman told KTVI it appeared he attached the lights and siren because he was "trying to clear traffic so that he could get where he’s is going faster."