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'Stupid motorist' law may deter some, but not others

PHOENIX -- It's the monsoon season and for anyone who cannot resist the urge to plow his or her car into flooded streets and washes, the state has a law just for them.

Under the "stupid motorist law," drivers who ignore barricades and signs warning of floods ahead may be responsible pick up the tab for the cost of rescue, which in many cases involves police and fire helicopters.

"If a person picks up the cost of a rescue it can be very expensive," Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

He said the costs can run into thousands of dollars. Just a few inches of floodwater will carry a car downstream. It takes much less to sweep a person away.

"Ideally we hope no driver enters a flooded wash no matter how shallow it appears to be."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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