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Last updated on Friday, February 24, 2012
(BROWNSTOWN) (TribTown)- The Jackson County Commissioners made a decision that motorists encountering flood-covered roads in Jackson County in the future may face a fine if they decide to drive into the water.
However, Commissioner John Schafstall voted against a motion to close county roads any time the water spans the entire roadway saying he didn't like passing a rule that could not be enforced.
He questioned Sheriff Michael Carothers about the possible intent of changing present county ordinance, which allows the highway superintendent to close any county road if it presents a danger to motorists.
Carothers says he is just doing his job and trying to stop from having to pull a body from a vehicle that gets stuck in flood water
The issue arose earlier this year when several motorists had to be pulled out of vehicles that had entered floodwater-covered roadways.
Carothers says each time it occurs, the lives of emergency workers and police are put at risk. He also recently told commissioners some earlier changes to signs along roads entering flood-prone areas made it hard for an officer to write a ticket because they contained the message "high water, enter at your own risk."
The county highway department has since removed those signs and now intends to place signs closing roads once they become covered with water.
Commissioner President Jerry Hounshel say it's still going to be up to an officer's discretion to write a ticket, and Carothers says it was not his intention to sit in flood-prone areas and write tickets.
Carothers did suggest the county look at implementing a fine of $500 to "get into the pockets of offenders" and make them think about driving into high waters again. He added officers would only someone for going through the high waters and they then had to be rescued.
County Attorney Susan Bevers said after the meeting there might already be some type of fine structure in place, and if not, a fine structure would have to be approved by the county council.
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