FLORA, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Since last week when the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development closed a portion of Louisiana Highway 478 due to high water, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s deputies been busy rescuing people who failed to heed the warnings, according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
On Wednesday afternoon, NPSO deputies responded to a 2019 Hyundai from Leesville disabled in the water on the closed road.
The 20-year-old driver of the car told deputies he was traveling from Leesville to Natchitoches to eat lunch with friends. He was not injured, but his vehicle was disabled and had to be towed by a local wrecker service.
Deputies say they have had to rescue drivers of at least three vehicles disabled in the water of the closed road, though visible signs and barricades are in place to warn of the road closure.
Motorists still ignore the signs and travel around the barricades into the water risking their safety and damages to their vehicles, and deputies say that normally includes costs that may or may not be covered by insurance companies.
In order to protect people, NPSO deputies have been issuing citations to violators and will continue until the roads are officially inspected and open to traffic.
The recent heavy rains have caused some roads in the parish to flood, and these roads remain impassable and can be dangerous because water has remained over them for over a week, there can be debris and washouts beneath the surface.
When the water recedes, DOTD and the Natchitoches Parish Highway Department will inspect these roads to determine if they are safe to travel on.
NPSO deputies are urging people not to take shortcuts, drive around barricades and to drive responsibly and never enter high water. Those signs and barricades are there for a reason – safety.