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Bypassing police barricades on closed streets carries hefty fine

As if driving around a police barricade and into flooded streets isn't a bad enough idea, here's one more reason not to do it: it's illegal. Violation carries a hefty fine.

On Thursday, a driver bypassed a police barricade that was put up because floodwaters had made SW 29 Street near Robinson Avenue impassible. The driver then got stranded and needed rescue.

Going around such roadblocks can lead to a municipal citation of disregarding a traffic control device, said Stacy Davis, administrator of Oklahoma City's municipal court. The fine for breaking the law is $172, he said.

While the citation will cost violators money, disregarding barricades can be far more risky, particularly when dealing with flooded streets, said Oklahoma City police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow.

"With last (Thursday) night's flooding, we do that for the public's safety,” Wardlow said. "We've seen instances where cars got swept away and people lost their lives.”

Wardlow said people often underestimate the power of flowing water, or think vehicles with high clearance will be able to cross flooded streets.

Even heavy sport utility vehicles or trucks can be stalled or carried off by high waters, she said.

"There's no reason to take a chance and drive through it.”