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Uber driver among 22 people charged with impaired driving in York Region over Christmas week

An Uber driver was among 22 people charged with impaired driving offences in York Region over the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, police said Tuesday.

York police said the force has laid about 1,650 charges for impaired-related driving offences in 2018

York Regional Police said an on-duty Uber driver and a man whose breath sample was five times the legal blood-alcohol limit were among 22 people charged with impaired driving over the Christmas week. (Greg Ross/CBC)

An Uber driver was among 22 people charged with impaired driving offences in York Region over the week between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day, police said Tuesday.

In a news release, York Regional Police highlighted two incidents in particular.

One, in Whitchurch-Stouffville, occurred shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, when an alleged impaired driver was spotted on Main Street. Police caught up with the driver when he pulled into a parking lot on Hoover Park Drive, where he had arrived, police learned, to pick up an Uber customer.

The driver, a 55-year-old man from Whitchurch-Stouffville, is charged with impaired operation and having a blood-alcohol concentration over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

While York Const. Andy Pattenden said the driver told police he was picking up a customer, Uber disputed the driver's claim. In a statement to CBC Toronto, spokesperson Kayla Whaling said while the driver does work for Uber, he was not using the ride-hailing app at the time of the incident.

Uber has now blocked the driver's access to the app, Whaling said.

Another incident occurred around 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when a witness called police to report that a car had pulled into his driveway and crashed into his house. When police arrived, they found a black Infiniti up against the corner of the home, with the driver apparently asleep with the car still running.

This driver's breath sample was five times the legal limit, police said in the news release. He was taken to hospital because a blood-alcohol reading that high is "considered a potential medical emergency."

The driver, a 29-year-old Vaughan man, was released from hospital and was also charged with impaired operation and having a blood-alcohol concentration over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

In their news release, York police said the force has laid about 1,650 charges for impaired-related driving offences in 2018. Seven people died on York Region roads in collisions where alcohol or drug impairment were considered contributing factors, police said.

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