Driving through flooded roadways could lead to big fines

Peach Tree Lane in Cedar Park

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — We learned more about a driver who was swept away in floodwater Wednesday night in Cedar Park. A similar move could cost you a lot of money.

It started at the low water crossing on Cypress Lane after one of the flood gates was left open. Cedar Park police said an officer went to close the gate but was called off to a burglary. When officers made it back to try and close it, the water was too high.

That’s when a man drove through and floated about 80 yards downstream to the second low-water crossing at Peach Tree Lane. His truck was still there Thursday.

Even though the driver did not technically break the law since the gate was open, state law says people who have to be rescued from floods could wind up paying for the rescue bill if they knowingly place themselves or another person in danger.

Truck left behind after water rescue
The truck was still sitting next the creek it floated down the night before

Water was still rushing over the road a day later.

“I’m scared because the river is very fast and strong,” said Marea Gutierrez who lives just feet away. She said she called out to the driver who ended up in the creek Wednesday night. “Are you OK, and he said, ‘Yes, I’m OK.'”

The driver in this rescue was not fined. Rescuers hope this potentially deadly situation sends a message.

“We really want that to be more of a deterrent than anything. There’s a lot at stake for driving into these situations and putting so many people in harm’s way,” said John Bright, Emergency Management coordinator for Cedar Park.

Cedar Park Fire Department officials said they have never charged for a rescue before because these situations do not come up often. However, had they charged, the rescue bill could have ranged from $2,500 to $5,000. If you do go around a barricade, state law says you could be fined up to $2,000 and even spend time in jail.

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