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On-duty rideshare driver among 22 charged with impaired driving over holidays: York police

Click to play video: 'Ontario ride-hailing security mystery' Ontario ride-hailing security mystery
WATCH ABOVE: The arrest of an Uber driver for impaired driving north of Toronto has raised more concerns about security with ride hailing services. As Sean O’Shea reports, Uber has relatively new features that many consumers have a hard time finding – Jan 2, 2019

Editor’s Note: This story originally reported the rideshare driver was working for Uber at the time of the incident. Uber has since denied the claim but YRP could not confirm.

York Regional Police say an on-duty rideshare driver was among the 22 drivers charged with impaired driving from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

Police said officers responded to a call from a concerned citizen about an alleged impaired driver on Main Street in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, just after midnight on Dec. 31. Police located the suspect who had pulled into a parking lot on Hoover Park Drive.

READ MORE: Stiff new penalties for distracted, impaired driving in Ontario begin on Jan. 1

Officers learned the driver was an on-duty ridesharedriver who had arrived to pick up a customer.

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Dennis Romanin, 55, was charged with impaired operation and having a blood-alcohol level of over 80 milligrams.

Police said in the release that Romanin was working for Uber at the time of the incident, however, an Uber spokesperson told Global News on Wednesday that he was not.

The spokesperson confirmed Romanin did work for Uber but he was not online at the time of the incident. Uber has since removed Romanin’s access to the app.

Uber said Romanin’s record with the app was clean up until this incident and he had been with the company since summer of 2016 with a 4.95 rating out of 5.

Global News contacted police on Wednesday, who said the information they have is that Romanin was an Uber driver and was driving with them at the time.

In another incident highlighted by police in a release on Tuesday, officers responded to reports of a vehicle which had pulled into a driveway and proceeded to crash into a house at around 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

WATCH: On Dec. 18, Canada implemented new impaired-driving laws which give police officers across the country more power to catch suspected impaired drivers.

Click to play video: 'Three things drivers need to know about new impaired driving law' Three things drivers need to know about new impaired driving law
Three things drivers need to know about new impaired driving law – Dec 18, 2018

Officers arrived on scene and located a black Infinity which had struck the corner of the home. Police said the driver appeared to be sleeping and the vehicle was still running.

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The driver was taken to hospital after providing a breath sample which police said read more than five times the legal limit.

Artem Kulikov, 29, of Vaughan, was released from hospital and charged with impaired operation and having a blood-alcohol level of over 80 milligrams.

In 2018, York police said they charged around 1,650 drivers with impaired driving.

Furthermore, seven people died as a result of crashes in which drugs or alcohol were factors in the region, police said.

READ MORE: York police name 16 drivers charged with impaired driving over weekend

Earlier in December, York police announced they were joining several other police forces, including Durham and Niagara, and would begin to name all drivers charged with impaired driving-related offences.

After years of calls from advocates to crack down on distracted and impaired driving, stiff new penalties passed by the Ontario government came into effect on Tuesday.

— With files from Nick Westoll

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