Time and time again, police departments in the Philadelphia suburbs tell citizens: during a storm, don’t drive through high water. Those barricades are there for a reason.
Time and time again, police say, drivers head into deep water anyway, and end up having to be rescued. Well, a court ruling Thursday could start to change that.
Montgomery County Judge Garrett D. Page ordered Donald Pierce, 55, of Philadelphia, to pay $1,000 to a fire company that rescued him after he went around  barricades and got swamped in Upper Moreland Township.
Peggy Gibbons reported this story for the Times Herald and the Journal Register websites today.
Pierce, Gibbons wrote, also had to write apology letters to three firemen whose lives he endangered when he drove through high water on Davisville Road near Terwood.
This happened last Sept. 8 during Tropical Storm Lee. The downpour caused the Pennypack Creek to overflow its banks, making the Willow Grove intersection impassable, Gibbons reported.
A police officer saw Pierce in his red minivan drive around three sets of barriers as he headed north on Davisville. Pierce got about halfway through the high water when the current took over, wedging the van against a guardrail.
Upper Moreland and Hatboro firefighters were called, and three members of the Willow Grove Fire Company waded out in hip boots, but were thwarted by the swift current.
They tried again, this time using an Enterprise Fire Co. ladder truck, and were able to rescue Pierce, Gibbons reported.
Police charged him with three counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of reckless driving.
During a hearing before Judge Page on Thursday, the prosecution and defense counselors announced a plea agreement; it knocked down the charges to one summary offense for disorderly conduct. Pierce pleaded guilty and paid fines of $501.