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Huber: Blatant disregard poses double danger

Don't mess with the West Fargo Sheyenne Diversion or any other vehicle prohibited traffic area for that matter.

An over zealous Fargo man found that out the hard way last week after being charged for a "mudding" incident that involving driving on West Fargo's flood protection works. He will be making his first appearance in court today (Wednesday), and as a result may be held liable for damages caused by his vehicle.

Mudding is the act of driving a vehicle upon roadways and open fields following a rain event. Drivers attempt to challenge the capabilities of the vehicle to overcome the adverse driving conditions. This activity can cause damage to the roadway or open field areas where the driving is occurring. Drivers causing damage can be fined and may have to pay civil penalties.

Police officials say mudding incidents happens fairly frequently, but more often on township roads. When it does, the involved parties don't often get caught because they have buddies to help them out. In addition, the muddings often occur when individuals are driving on rough areas of the road that the police officers normally can't drive on to get to the violator.

In this particular incident, the alleged party drove his vehicle across open fields and onto the west bank of the diversion, reportedly lost control of the vehicle and it became stuck and was located in an area along the Diversion north of Twenty-first Avenue West.

The offense for driving on a flood protective works is a class B Misdemeanor and punishable by a fine up to $1000 and/ or 30 days in jail. In addition, the driver may be held liable for damages caused as the result of the action.

City officials estimate the dollar damage caused by this unnecessary act at $2200. They voiced additional concern about the personal danger the driver exposed himself by driving on the diversion with the current high water levels due to releases from Bald Hill Dam north of Valley City.

Officials are hoping that others will take this as reminder and warning to steer clear of areas closed to vehicle traffic.

One driver is finding out his blatant disregard for disobeying the rules is a pretty high price to pay all for the sake of a little stupidity.