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Drivers continue to run barricades, impact TPC site response

PORT NECHES — Water flow for fire suppression at the TPC Group facility was slightly reduced after a man drove past a set of barricades and a police officer and hit a device protecting a fire hose early Monday.

Port Neches police arrested Khuong Nguyen Tran, 34, on charges of driving while license invalid, bond set at $350; traffic offense-moving, bond set at $350; and a warrant for a vehicle license plate offense, bond set at $150, according to information from the Jefferson County Jail.

This marked the first time Tran was arrested or booked into the Jefferson County Jail, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Capt. Crystal Holmes said.

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said there is a 1.3-mile long, 12-inch pipe sucking water out of the Neches River for cooling and fire suppression. A driver breached the barricades at Spur 136 with the officers there, went on until he hit the steel protective ramp, went airborne and crashed out.

There are a number of officers at different areas of the city to keep the public from breaching the barricades but that doesn’t stop certain drivers.

“We have people that disregard barricades and signs and go where they want to go,” Lemoine said.

The incident with the vehicle hitting the pipe resulted in a slight loss of maximum water flow to the TPC site.

This isn’t the first time a driver has disregarded the barricades and hit the pipe — officials said it has happened about multiple times in the past days.