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Man and his car nearly swept away on flooded road near Harwood

HARWOOD, N.D. - A man is lucky to be alive after he drove around a barricade blocking a flooded road and was nearly swept away with his car today, Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said.

Authorities were called at 12:13 p.m. to Cass County 22, one mile west of Cass County 17, near Harwood.

The two-door Toyota went around a "road closed" sign and was partially swept into the ditch, Laney said. The driver was able to get out of the car and escape the icy water.

Crews brought in a National Guard truck to pull out the car as it teetered on the edge of the washed-out gravel road and the ditch.

"He's just lucky it was the National Guard pulling his car out and not divers pulling his body out," Laney said.

The sheriff's office will recommend the driver be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and $2,000 fine, for going around the barricade, Laney said.

"He was very apologetic, realized he made a very big mistake," the sheriff said. "He put a lot of people in danger. Had he been trapped in the vehicle, there'd have to be rescue people going into those waters."

Laney said the county is trying to accommodate drivers and allow traffic on water-covered roads where it's safe, but he stressed that drivers must obey barricades.

"The 'road closed' isn't a suggestion, it's an order," he said.