Reno County officials want residents to stop driving around barricades

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KAKE) -

Reno County officials said residents keep going around road closure barricades Wednesday around the county and flooding their cars instead of finding alternate routes.

There are 70 road closures in Reno County right now, with 25 of them having high water according to Adam Weishaar, the director for Reno County Emergency Management. He said driving in the water is dangerous for your car, but also for your health.

"There's lots of raw sewage in our flooded roadways," he said. "Hazardous chemicals, there's just a multitude of hazards that these people face when they choose to drive around the barricades."

All the way under the water where the road may or may not be is also a concern to Reno County officials.

"There's some areas that are washed out," Weishaar said. "We've been flooded for approximately three weeks now and we just don't have any idea what's under some of that water."

According to Weishaar, emergency response crews have been called out six times in the past two weeks to perform water rescues. One resident said he has witnessed people drive through it, and has even had to get involved in rescues.

"I've seen a lot of people drive through it, and try to get through it, people get stranded and we've rescued people up north of town up here by where I live," said Jon Steele.

He said it's tough, but he finds another way home instead of trying to chance going through the water due to possible consequences.

"If you get stranded in it you're going to be hypothermia and sometimes it's deeper than what you think it is, and it's swifter," he said.

People continue to drive through the barricades, and if they continue to get stuck, Weishaar said it just continues to put everyone involved in danger.

"They're driving around the barricades and putting themselves in danger and putting our first responders in danger that have to go out and rescue them," he said.