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The County Sheriff may, pursuant to Ohio Revised Codes Section 311.07 may declare a "snow emergency" and temporarily close any township, municipal, county, US interstates or state roads within his jurisdiction for the preservation of public peace. Any person who violates a snow emergency order is subject to prosecution of Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.13 (Misconduct at an Emergency). The Sheriff of Wood County has defined snow emergencies by the following levels:
LEVEL I - SNOW ALERT: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Drive very cautiously.
LEVEL II - SNOW ADVISORY: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow and or icy conditions. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.
LEVEL III - SNOW EMERGENCY: All Municipal, Township, County, State and US Routes in Wood County are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work as only employees designated by their employer as essential may go to work and only if their route is passable.
Please check the local news media for the status of any active Snow Emergencies.
ORC 2917.13. Misconduct at emergency.
(A) No person shall knowingly do any of the following:
(B) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit access or deny information to any news media representative in the lawful exercise of the news media representative's duties.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of misconduct at an emergency. Except as otherwise provided in this division, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If a violation of this section creates a risk of physical harm to persons or property, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(D) As used in this section:
Effective Date: 03-22-2004
To view the state’s weather-related road closures and restrictions, visit the Ohio Department of Transportation’s traffic Web site at www.buckeyetraffic.org.
Attorney General's Opinion No. 97-015
Authority of County Sheriff to Close Roads during Snow Emergencies
"The county sheriff may, pursuant to Revised Code 311.07, declare a snow emergency and temporarily close the state roads and municipal streets within his jurisdiction when such action is reasonably necessary for the preservation of the public peace. (1986 Op. Attorney General No. 86-023 approved and followed.)"
To briefly summarize this opinion, the county sheriff’s authority to close county and township roads during a snow emergency was expanded to include closure of state roads and municipal streets. The authority falls generally within a county sheriff’s duty to preserve the public peace. The Attorney General’s opinion is that there should be no distinction among the different types of roads within each county so long as the circumstances warrant closure during snow emergencies.