COLUMN: Stay aware of road barricades

Submitted photo.
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.

We’re well into spring now and to where we’re experiencing heavy rains and thunderstorms on a fairly regular basis. Please stay aware of the weather conditions, whether you’re out and about or at home.

Heavy rains can mean flooded roads and when you see where road barricades have been put up, rest assured they’ve been set out for a reason. You may not know why a barricade’s there on a roadway, but do know there’s a hazard up ahead that the precincts and highway department are trying to keep you out of.

Typically, the barricades mean there’s water over the roadways to the point it’s not safe to try and go through. The barricades also could be keeping you out of sinkholes that have opened up; they may also be a warning about a bridge that’s gone out. We’ve also had roads blocked off in the past because high winds blew trees down and utility poles across a roadway.

Please don’t move the barricades and don’t go around them. It makes no sense to risk your life trying to make it through whatever’s up ahead. You might make it, but if you don’t, you’ve put your life at risk, along with the lives of everyone who’ll be called out to help you. And, if you’ve moved that barricade, other people might follow along after you – do you want to put their lives at risk, also?

High water rescues caused by people going around barricades or taking them down are dangerous – and totally unnecessary. Remember, these barricades aren’t there to make life inconvenient for you, they’re in place to keep everyone safe. Let me remind you that you’re violating the law if you move, tamper or ignore a barricade and the penalty is a class B misdemeanor if that barricade was there because of high water on the roadway.

Stay aware of the weather going on around us; stay safe. Remember the adage, “Turn around, don’t drown.”

Please, everyone, let’s keep our military and service personnel in our thoughts and prayers. We enjoy our rights and freedoms because of their service and safekeeping of our great nation. Y’all have a Blessed Week.

Johnny Brown has served as Sheriff of Ellis County since Jan. 1, 2009, and is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute. He has been in law enforcement for more than 20 years and holds a Master’s Peace Officer’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.