A 22-year veteran of Durham Region police who once preached safe driving to students has been charged with street racing after being "pursued" by officers in Ajax two weeks ago.
Staff Sgt. John Givelas was driving home from work in his own SUV on March 9 when he was pulled over on Taunton Rd. just before 5 a.m., said Dave Selby, spokesperson for Durham Regional Police Service.
Details have been slow to emerge about the incident, which occurred as Givelas, who holds a desk job in Durham Region's west division, was driving home through an unpopulated area north of town.
The SUV was spotted driving eastbound on Taunton Rd. near Ravenscroft Rd.
Two uniformed officers in a cruiser were "stationed there" when Givelas drove by, Selby said, but he didn't know what their purpose was or if radar was involved.
The officers would not have known who they were stopping, Selby added.
Givelas' SUV was "pursued" by the police cruiser with flashing lights, said Selby, who didn't know how far the two vehicles drove before stopping.
Highway Traffic Act charges of speeding and racing were laid against Givelas on Tuesday, Selby said.
He couldn't say why it took two weeks to lay charges.
Selby would not confirm the speed at which Givelas' car was clocked.
However, to warrant a racing charge, the car would have been observed travelling at least 50 kilometres per hour over the posted limit of 80 km/h, Selby said Wednesday.
Givelas, whose salary is over $100,000, has since been transferred to an administrative position in another division to separate him from officers involved in the case.
"It's normal protocol to make sure everything's above board on the case," Selby said.
Givelas, whose age was not disclosed, worked for traffic services for several years and was branch sergeant at one time.
In 1999, Givelas gave a presentation to Durham College students on drinking and driving as part of Safety Week.
He expressed concern when only two people showed up to listen.
In 2008, Givelas was given an medal for 20 years of service with Durham police.
Givelas is scheduled to appear in court in late April.
With files from Thandiwe Vela