- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - After heavy flooding in eastern Oklahoma led to swift-water rescues of several motorists, a state lawmaker from Pittsburg County wants to increase the punishment for people who remove or drive around road barricades.

Democratic State Rep. Brian Renegar of McAlester said Monday he plans to introduce a bill that would make violations a misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000. A motorist transporting children could face a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.

Renegar also wants to require violators to pay restitution for rescue costs and any lost emergency equipment.

The current minimum penalty is $100, but House officials say that applies only to state highways and not county roads.

One motorist died in Pittsburg County last week when his car was swept away by floodwaters.

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