East St. Louis, IL – A St. Louis pastor was charged with impersonating a police officer on Thursday, after he used emergency lights and a siren while driving through traffic.
Police said that 25-year-old Reverend Michael Wallace was caught on camera earlier in the week after a person took video of Wallace’s car coming up fast from their side-view mirror with flashing lights and a siren, KTVI reported.
Then on Wednesday, a St. Charles police officer spotted the same vehicle with lights flashing on Westbound I-70 near the Fifth Street exit, but was unable to make a stop.
Eventually, an officer spotted the vehicle near the Cave Springs exit, again driving with lights and siren, and was able to pull him over, according to KTVI.
Police said Wallace told police he wasn’t trying to pull over motorists, but instead was just trying to clear traffic so he could get through faster, KTVI reported.
During the stop, Wallace told police he was a chaplain with the East St. Louis Police Department, and claimed that gave him the authority to use lights and sirens, KTVI reported. But that turned out to be a lie.
“We have no current chaplain,” East St. Louis Police Chief Jerry Simon said in a press release. “We are completely redoing the chaplain program with full background checks, etc. The chaplain program has not been in effect since the beginning of this year. It was ceased in an effort to revamp procedures and background checks. Michael Wallace is not on current list that I have.”
Further research determined that Wallace had been removed from his parish, the Abyssinian Baptist Church in north St. Louis, for not following church law, according to KTVI.
“You never know. We can only pray for him and lift him and his family up,” said Pastor Keith Boyd of Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Wallace was arrested on Thursday and charged with false impersonation of a police officer, according to KTVI.
St. Charles Police Sergeant David Horton pointed out that impersonating a police officer is not only illegal, but also very dangerous. He said officers are trained on how to safely maneuver through traffic.
“You can’t just have a random person out there running with lights and sirens, driving 90 miles an hour down the highway; it’s just dangerous to the public,” Sgt. Horton told KTVI.