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Passing through barricade puts area man in jail

Monday, June 9, 2008

Driving a vehicle around a barricade and into high water on a closed state road landed a local man in jail for endangering his family Sunday evening.

"Safety barricades and warning signs are put up for a reason, public safety," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times. "If we catch people ignoring barricades and warning signs to drive into high water areas where they not only endanger their own lives, but the lives of the people who come to help them, they will be arrested."

Shortly before 7 p.m., Sunday, dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center were notified a van was stalled in high water on State Road 246, just west of State Road 59.

It was reported the current was beginning to slowly "take the van with it" and a woman and two children were trapped inside.

When Deputy/K-9 Officer Brison Swearingen arrived on the scene, an unidentified local farmer used his personal pick-up truck to help get two of four children from the van.

The woman and the two children that were still in the vehicle, the youngest which was 3-years-old, were unharmed.

The Clay City Volunteer Fire Department brought the tanker truck to bring the driver, Michael T. Trusty, 32, safely from the van.

Members of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Department, Riley Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team and Clay County Emergency Management also responded to the scene.

Heaton and Swearingen interviewed Trusty, who was not injured, at the scene.

Trusty admitted to ignoring a barricade that closed off the roadway and driving a half-mile into the swift floodwater covering the roadway.

Trusty was taken into custody and booked into the Clay County Justice Center on preliminary charges of neglect of dependant, criminal recklessness and reckless driving.

The Clay County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case.

According to jail officials, Trusty remains incarcerated on a $7,000 cash bond awaiting formal arraignment proceedings per the Clay County Court schedule.

Heaton said the vehicle, which was left in the high water at the scene, will be impounded when it is safe enough for personnel to retrieve it.

"This was definitely an unwise decision that put several lives in jeopardy," Heaton said. "There really is no an excuse for something like this to happen."

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Can't you say something more intelligent than that? The term, retarded, is extremely offensive and antiquated! Consequently, your comment makes you sound illiterate.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 8:30 PM

I would like to start by saying I am the one who called the police for help. The people involved in this are not retarded by any means. Michael Trusty is a little slow minded that does not make him retarded. However for you information he has no intenton pleading any defense he plans to plead guilty to all the charges. He had an error in judgement there again it doesn't make him retarded. Just for everyones information there was not 4 kids in the vehicle there were 2. The reason the cops were called was because my husband couldn't wade through the water to get to the kids, so I called 911.

-- Posted by deannajones on Mon, Jun 9, 2008, at 8:46 PM

Wow! Great job getting this vermin off the road, I am glad to see our tax dollars in full effect...sarcastic of course. I am sure this criminal will be able to cover the legal fees, and have adequate representation...oh, I forgot, it will be the tax payers. Keep up the soild work, I am sure there could be more charges brought against him if you look hard enough. Was he trying to get home? Half the town was "blocked off", and traffic was out of control. If anyone paid attention, the waters on Main St. was deeper, and faster than most the roads in Clay County, hey even SOME stalled cars. The county could have made some real money writing citations at the corner of 40 & 59...heck even Kroger parking lot.

-- Posted by ADJ on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 5:25 AM

My husband, I, and another couple, live in Clay City and happened upon this incident. We drove over there to see if the water had receded any from the day before (no intention of driving through of course).

Deannajones is correct, there were only two children in the vehicle, not four. I agree the man should be in jail without question! However, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the family that put themselves in danger to rescue the woman and her children. Also, to all police, fire, and rescue on the scene. They should be commended! I also agree with others on this board that retarded is a very strong label to put on someone. There are many mentally handicapped individuals in this community (not that Mr. Trusty is), and their families may read these comments.

-- Posted by timetomoveon on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 6:26 AM

If we arrested everyone for doing something stupid and dangerous, we'd all have been in jail at one time or another. Incarcerating someone for this is asinine. Ticketed: yes. Heavy fines: maybe. But jail time? Definately not. On the flip side, people need to know the limits of their vehicles. Frankly, I don't trust the authorities to tell me if I can pass through a certain section of the road. You've seen my pictures of this disaster (http://www.QRP.com). In one instance they close the road and block you when its perfectly safe. In other instances there won't even be a sign. The fact is Trusty made a bad call. If they can put you in jail for making a bad call, should public officials go to jail when they screw up and nobody is hurt? They don't, usually. "Oh, sorry, I made a bad call." usually gets them off. Surely Trusty will get justice. He did something stupid and I hope they fine him and let him go with a "Be more careful next time!" The moral of the story here is that you need to think about stuff before you go rushing in. Know the limits of yourself and your vehicle. Ultimately, its your personal wit and responsibility that count (not the barricade). Don't trust public officials for advice or to save you: they always play to the lowest common denominator and they might not be available in your time of need. Don't assume they are wrong and don't assume they are right. Use some common sense.

-- Posted by TheRider on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 9:39 AM

I find the "r" word as repulsive as the "N" word. Both should be banned from our language!

This guy did a dumb thing and I am guilty of doing the very same thing that day.( I did not have kids in my car though.) Got caught up in the sights and went through where I should not have treaded. SO I do not think I can pass judgement on him.

-- Posted by madmom61 on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 11:43 AM

I feel anyone driving thru a block road should be ticketed, Its blocked for a reason And having kids in the car. They cant control the driver, someone has to watch out for them, So I feel the charges are justified

-- Posted by pepsilady on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 3:17 PM

Rider---the road was closed for a reason. I am sure that the water was to high to pass and if you havent been out its not the water that is the problem its the roads that are falling apart. Heck look at I-70 bet you never thought that it would collapse. But hey that road was closed would you drive around the road closed signs and drive off into the 15 foot hole in the ground. NO because there were signs saying road closed. If you dont make it to the south end of the county the road closed sign is all the way across the road, Mr. Trusty had to go off the pavement and drive into the grass. He needs to be in jail and get a huge fine. If he wants to put the children and the other passengers in the vehicle in danger then they should take his driver's license.

-- Posted by BigCB20 on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 3:58 PM

I want to start off by saying I have a brother that is mentally challenged. I found the word retarded to be offensive not because of my brother's condition, but because even he has more common sense than Trusty. Rider I have to say you sound like some crazy anarchist. Most of your post seemed like random babble that had nothing to do with the story. What's the point of putting up a barricade if people are just going to ignore them? Your whole point is what got Trusty in trouble. He thought he knew the limits of his vehicle, and that's why his family had to be rescued. I guess he didn't have enough personal wit; or maybe he was just an idiot for disregarding the signs in the first place.

-- Posted by J Mac on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 5:23 PM

Although many people believe the world is black or white, right or wrong, I do understand there is a HUGE amount of gray in between.

No matter what we think as second day quarterbacks who can second guess the "what ifs", the truth of the matter is as follows:

Driver crossed a warning barricade announcing a road closed: That endangers lives, period! He needs to be charged with endangering not only his own life, but everyone elses.

Sometimes you have to punish people for their own good, inspite of themselves.

This is a wake-up call for all of us gawkers (I was one too): Even with the best of intentions, we can get ourselves, and our passengers, in trouble.

Hopefully Mr. Trusty will receive the proper justice he deserves and, most importantly, learn a vital lesson.

-- Posted by Cy on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 5:25 PM

We all make stupid decisions. Some of us daily. His put children in danger. Crossing a barricade? Really bad idea. Endangering the lives of children? really really bad idea. But... it's not our place to pass judgment on him. Likely enough... right now... he's kicking himself for his decision. Just be thankful that this was a time, where a wrong decision didn't turn into a tragic decision.

-- Posted by mhicks on Tue, Jun 10, 2008, at 8:55 PM

Rider- We all get it, you are an expert driver who has mental power far greater than the rest of us mere mortals. I'm sure that the signs are just there for the average person, not for you.

The signs were put there for a reason; the road was too dangerous at the time of posting to cross and nobody could be posted there to determine the exact instance when it became safe again. Obviously the posting was correct as the driver and his family had to be rescued. This man's decision to disregard the warning not only put his family at risk but also the citizens and emergency responders who came to their aid.

If Trusty and his wife had been alone in the vehicle then he would have been cited and sent on his way. His decision to intentionally put his children at risk resulted in the neglect of a dependant and criminal recklessness charges.

Knowing your vehicles capabilities and your skill level may work fine if you are on private property doing some type of off road riding/driving or on a race track, but we can't have several sets of standards for our roadways based on skill level and intelligence. If you are an expert driver in a Porsche 911 you still have to obey the same speed limit as the 16 year old in his 25 year old pickup truck.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Wed, Jun 11, 2008, at 2:57 AM

Dear Unsolicited Opinion,

Your sarcastic comments are noted. If I sounded like I considered myself an expert driver with way higher than average mental capacity, I did not intend to. I never suggested that anyone *IGNORE* a road closed or high water sign. That, in essence, would be a sign of stupidity. In life there are few absolutes. Road closed means that the authorities believe the road to be dangerous and impassable with the least capable vehicle on the planet. Just remember that:

A) Circumstances change.

B) Not all authorities have either my driving or my mental abilities [according to Mr. Unsolicited Opinion] and therefore view "passable" or "impassable" differently.

C) The goal of authorities may not simply be to warn you of bad conditions. Their goal may be something totally different, lofty or insidious or simply lazy.

D) Not all vehicles are the same.

During the flood I crossed many barricades but ignored *NONE*. I crossed deep water several times in an unmodified Ford Explorer. Had I been in my Mazda or on my motorcycle, I would never even had a thought of trying to cross in the some places. At no time did I put myself or my son in as much as a fraction of the danger I would put either of us in if I were to drive down US41 from North Terre Haute to the south end between 11:30am and 12:30pm, Mon-Fri.

The term DANGEROUS is a relative term. So is ROAD CLOSED. To ignore either is to prove Unsolicited Opinion correct. Know your limits and know your vehicle's limits at all times not just when you decide to drive around the ROAD CLOSED sign. ...and always err on the side of safety.

-- Posted by TheRider on Wed, Jun 11, 2008, at 1:26 PM

I agree with Unsolicited opinion. The barricades are there for a reason. Emergency responders and police put them there in hopes that people will not attempt to cross. That will save them from having to rescue an individual like this. There are situations that police and emergency responders need to be dealing with, instead of rescuing people out of water. What if there was another emergency that happened while they were in the process of rescuing this family? There are only so many police officers and rescue personnel that can respond. This was unnecessary and could have been avoided if the driver would have offered due regard to the barricades. Yes, as a matter of fact, the officers were justified in arresting him. As always, keep up the good work boys!

-- Posted by Unsolicitedtidbits on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 12:22 AM

For everyone who is wondering what he got out of this, he didn't get near what he deserved. He only got 10 days do 5, 1 year probation and not enough community service. I know the Trusty's well and I still believe he should've gotten more. A person of normal mental capacity would've gotten more.

-- Posted by deannajones on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 3:49 PM

That all the time he got? What is going on in the court house? My guess not much, needed to get more time. It would be different if he was by himself but he wasnt he had children. Really upset he didnt get more time.

-- Posted by BigCB20 on Sat, Jun 14, 2008, at 3:57 AM

I'm sorry, but I have to pull out my soap box on this one.

Let's get this straight: The word DANGEROUS is RELATIVE.

If I understand this theory (as explained by a prior posting by TheRider):

RELATIVE to each individual's state-of-mind -- whether ignorant, intoxicated, mentally incapable, stubborn, arrogant, immature, overly confident or nonchalant about their own abilities (or that of their chosen equipment) -- that person can CHOOSE the meaning of whatever "words or warning signs" used in any OFFICIAL capacity to describe a potential situation where someone could be hurt.

Sorry, but that has got to be the most dim-witted, brainless and asinine thought process I have ever heard!

TheRider: "During the flood I crossed many barricades but ignored *NONE*.

Considering what you are trying to explain in your post, that is an OXYMORON.

If you crossed it, you ignored it!

TheRider: "I crossed deep water several times in an unmodified Ford Explorer. Had I been in my Mazda or on my motorcycle, I would never even had a thought of trying to cross in the some places."

You can't use the, "I didn't get in trouble or hurt anyone when I did it, so it is OK for others to use their own judgement and ignore the warnings too" argument.

TheRider: "At no time did I put myself or my son in as much as a fraction of the danger I would put either of us in if I were to drive down US41 from North Terre Haute to the south end between 11:30am and 12:30pm, Mon-Fri."

From what you wrote, I'd say it was just plain LUCK that you weren't hurt.

I drove down a road that hadn't been posted yet, rushing water was running over it about 4-6 inches. Honestly, I thought about driving my pickup truck through it, but didn't. Radio, television and in the newspaper officials everywhere were saying, "don't drive in water over roadways." So I turned around and found another route.

To my utter shock that road was pictured on the news. The culvert on the road was missing underneath the water. If I'd used TheRider's logic who knows what would have happened!

TheRider wrote: "Know your limits and know your vehicle's limits at all times not just when you decide to drive around the ROAD CLOSED sign. ...and always err on the side of safety."

Not everyone knows their limits or understands when things are bad for them, which is why we have words like DANGEROUS and ROAD CLOSED signs.

-- Posted by Cy on Mon, Jun 16, 2008, at 11:34 AM

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