LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - According to police it’s an ongoing problem: Driving around police barricades at the scene of a wreck or fire. Longview Police tell KLTV 7 they can issue a citation for ignoring a barricade, but it’s also an arrestable offense.
“If there are cones or barriers in the road that means don’t go through,” a Longview Police Officer told a motorist who ignored a barricade.
Police hear all kinds of excuses for driving around barricades, like recently at a gas leak on High Street. But Lt. Shane McCarter said the blockade is established for a reason.
“We put those barricades out, we put cones out. Anything we put out is designed to stop traffic from moving into a hazardous situation,” McCarter said.
And at Safety City in Longview McCarter hopes kids learn that from an early age.
“When those are out, there is a violation for actually disobeying a traffic control device,” McCarter stated.
In fact, McCarter says it’s Class C misdemeanor.
“So it would be a citation. Of course if it occurs in the presence of officer, and they need to, they have the option of taking an individual to jail,” McCarter said.
McCarter has been in law enforcement 23 years and sees it to this day. He says it’s very common practice:
“For individuals to think that those barricades either don’t apply to them or that’s just the only way that they can get to their location that they’re trying to get to,” McCarter said.
First responders can be hurt by someone ignoring a barricade, and it tends to keep a road closed even longer.
“It’s taken the focus and the principle off the people that we’re trying to take care of and get those roads cleared up faster,” McCarter explained.
So not only is it a safety issue for first responders, but if people heed the barricades:
“Then we can speed the process up and get the roads opened a lot quicker,” McCarter said.
He has some advice.
“We’re driving defensively on the roadway and we see obstacles like this, then that allows us to process the situation and take alternate routes before we even get to that situation,” McCarter added.
He says when approaching a blockade, it’s the driver’s job to know what to do.
McCarter says the main thing is to always pay attention, not only to the vehicles in front of you, but to keep an eye on what is happening up the road as far as you can see.