A Farmington City Council member who outfitted his car with emergency lights is facing misdemeanor charges after being accused of impersonating a police officer.

Jason Bartholomay, 41, has been charged with one count of impersonating an officer and three counts of prohibited use of colored and flashing lights on his vehicle.

According to a criminal complaint filed this month, Apple Valley police received a report Oct. 26 of a vehicle traveling south on Cedar Avenue that was using blue lights to pull over other vehicles.

Bartholomay was pulled over near 153rd Street and Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley. According to the complaint, the officer saw what appeared to be a flashing blue light and vehicles ahead of his squad car slowing down and pulling back from Bartholomay’s vehicle ahead of them.

Bartholomay turned over the lights from both the front and rear of his vehicle, and police found a siren and public-address box similar to those used in squad cars. Bartholomay, who is a therapist, said he uses the lights when responding to “suicidal situations,” according to the complaint.

Minnesota law allows nonemergency cars to use flashing lights to indicate a traffic hazard, but the use of red and blue flashing lights is further restricted.

Bartholomay, a Marine Corps veteran, is serving his second term on the council. Mayor Todd Larson said the charges won’t affect Bartholomay’s attendance at meetings.

“All I’m telling people is it’s a personal matter with Jason,” he said. “And it really doesn’t affect the city.”

Bartholomay’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bartholomay could face up to 90 days in jail and nearly $2,000 in fines. He is scheduled to appear in Dakota County District Court on Dec. 10.

 

Staff writer Stephen Montemayor contributed to this report.