Stormy skies had cleared by mid-afternoon Thursday, but Sgt. Vance Callahan was still feeling a bit thunderous.

Raging Wednesday night into Thursday morning, this week's storm blew over trees throughout the area, cut power for some residents and left several roads underwater.

At least one motorist took a risk (and paid for it) on the water level on Houston Street early Thursday morning as Lake Meadowbrook made its return between Bighead Creek and Turkey Creek.

About 5:45 a.m. Kilgore Police Officers and Firefighters were called to the 1400 block of Houston for a vehicle stalled in high water.

“The crew of Engine 2 were able to safely extricate the sole occupant of the vehicle without any reported injuries, KPD reported on social media. “The roadway will the closed until the water recedes. Always remember, turn around don't drown. Never attempt to cross water over the roadway.

Some drivers didn't get the message: as Callahan helped a tow truck navigate to the stalled car later Thursday afternoon, a 17-year-old driver ignored the barricades stopping through traffic – and the shortcut quickly became costly.

“When you drive past barrels with water on the roadway, it's a Class B misdemeanor, Callahan said, shaking his head Dec. 27 and noting fresh tire marks in the right-of-way, other drivers ignoring the law.

According to the state's transportation code, driving around an official barricade is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. However, when that traffic control device is barricading water on a roadway, the offense is upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor.

The punishment range for a Class B is up to 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $2,000.

When it comes to enforcing the barriers, “It's hard to catch 'em, Callahan allowed, but he was keeping an eagle-eye out. The message has to get across: “If it's closed it's closed. You can go to county jail.

For everyone's safety, “It doesn't matter how much water is on the roadway, there's water on the roadway. That's why the barricade's there, and you do not bypass it.

According to resident B.J. Clark's weather station on South Higginbotham Road Wednesday, Dec. 26, saw 0.73 inches of rain compared to 3.3 inches Thursday. The 4.03 combined inches bring the 2018 rainfall total to 63.65 as measured on Higgonbotham.

Kilgore News Herald

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