"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."