Rescuing the Reckless: Water rescues at all-time high

Butte County Sheriff Korea Honea has an important message for drivers who break the rules.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 5:22 AM
Updated: Mar 28, 2019 10:10 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Butte County is seeing a record number of water rescues, and many involve drivers who just can't seem to follow the rules of the road. 

Sheriff Kory Honea said he's getting tired of it. 

"Not only are you risking your life, but you are also risking the lives of the first responders who have to rescue you," he said. 

Action News Now caught up with Honea at River Road, a stretch infamous for flooding. The sheriff gestures toward a flooded road sign, riddled with bullet holes. 

"This is a gate that we use to close the road down when there is flooding on the other side of it," Honea said. "It costs taxpayers to fix [damage like this] and it makes it harder to keep the community safe." 

Just four months into the year and the sheriff says his office received a record-setting 25 calls from people who ignored road signs and got stuck in the water. CAL FIRE, Butte County Search and Rescue, California Highway Patrol and the sheriff's office are among the several agencies called out to rescue the reckless. At least five people were rescued at the Dips at Oro Ferry Road and at least two on Lower Honcutt road this year so far. 

Below is an interactive map of the locations where Butte County officials conducted rescues. 

"Some days where we are getting two to three calls a day from various locations in the county," Honea said. 

And don't be tricked by signs of better weather.

"On sunny days, when it's warmer, some of the snowpack could melt off. We are expecting more rain, and there's the prospect of these areas being flooded again," he said. 

On top of damage to vehicles, those who fail to obey road signs can be fined at least $229 dollars. It is an additional $39 for each additional prior on your record, such as running a red light or speeding. 

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Heavy rain and very windy weather continue over much of northern California as a vigorous Pacific storm system batters the West Coast. Advisories, Watches and Warnings continue. Stay safe and evacuate if flooding is likely!
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