Drivers who ignore travel warnings could face fines

St. Joseph County, Ind. Police say drivers who ignore travel warnings and cause problems on the roads could face hefty fines.

Both St. Joseph County and South Bend Police started enforcing travel warnings at 7 p.m. Monday. When a travel warning is in place, people should only be on the roads if it's an emergency.

"You're taking a chance when you get on the road," said Cpl. Anthony Jozaites with the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department. "You're taking a risk of getting stuck, getting hurt, hurting somebody else."

The few drivers who ignored the warnings and ventured out ran into problems.

Police were forced to close Cleveland Road from Juniper to Ironwood after an accident in the area, which is notoriously slick.

Several cars and semis also got stuck in snow drifts that formed because of high winds Monday afternoon.

"Unfortunately, you get stuck, there's only so many of us out there," Jozaites said. "There's a good chance you can be stuck for an hour or so. Hopefully your car's running and you still have some heat."

Police say they're telling people to stay home so they stay safe.

Having few cars on the roads will also make it easier for highway crews to get out to clear streets and salt roadways.

If people ignore the county's orders and hit the road, they could face a hefty fine for causing problems. In St. Joseph County, drivers could have to pay up to $2,500. In the city of South Bend, officers can write drivers who disobey a $250 ticket.

"That's a pretty hefty fine for feeling like you need to get a pack of smokes or something," Jozaites said.

St. Joseph County and South Bend have travel warnings in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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