Liberty County law enforcement to stop solicitation at intersections, roadways

In an effort to prevent a tragic accident, Liberty County law enforcement agencies are going to begin cracking down on people soliciting for money along roadways and intersections.

Throughout the year, but mostly in the months leading up to summer, the intersections of SH 146 and SH 105 in Moss Hill, FM 834 and SH 146 in Hardin, FM 787 and SH 146 in Rye, SH 105 and SH 321 in Tarkington, are the main areas where parents and their children congregate to collect money from passing motorists.

“We are not trying to take away the fun or experiences of the children in being able to play ball or go to a summer camp, but our main interest is protecting the children’s lives so they are able to participate in these things,” said Sgt. Rob Willoughby, supervisor of the Liberty County office of the Texas Department of Public Safety. “I don’t want to see anyone killed. I am tired of seeing death. All it would take for a terrible tragedy to occur is one distracted driver hitting a group of children. That would be an absolute disaster, and the potential is there because drivers are already so distracted these days by their cell phones.”

Going forward, warnings will be issued, then citations, when warranted. These citations are a Class C misdemeanor that are punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Willoughby cited Texas Transportation Code, 552.007, which states: “A person may not stand in a roadway to solicit a ride, contribution, employment or business from an occupant of a vehicle” without having the authority of the local jurisdiction.

This section of Texas law also states that solicitation is only allowed if the person seeking authorization files a written application and has it approved by the local jurisdiction, and if they can provide proof of liability insurance of at least $1 million to the local authority.

According to Willoughby, County Judge Jay Knight is the local authority. Judge Knight told Bluebonnet News that he, too, is concerned about the safety of these children and adults at the intersections and will stand in support with the local law enforcement agencies.

“The serious nature of the accidents that happen on these roads and the potential for accidents at these intersection, and our care for our children and adults, means that we need to start being more cognizant, and this is the first step to rectifying the problem,” Knight said. “We are not being mean to the kids, but we want to see them grow to be adults.”

Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader also is backing DPS’ efforts.

“My policy will be the same. We will start enforcing this. It sure would be nice to go from Liberty to Lufkin without being stopped at intersections in Moss Hill and Rye by people soliciting for money,” Rader said.

Fire departments will be exempted from this rule as they have the liability insurance, professional experience, equipment and permission to solicit safely at intersections, Willoughby said.

To report soliciting at intersections and roadways in Liberty County, call your local law enforcement agency.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


    • Fan of begging I see. Teach the kids to work for the money that they would otherwise be begging for. Car washes, bake sales, raffle ticket sales and the list goes on.

  1. It must be a statewide initiative as I saw a baseball team in Harris County standing on the side of the road collecting nothing and thought how odd that isn’t working so well? There was a fellow that had an entire fruit stand under tent and sung karaoke to passing cars complete with a mike and speaker system not long ago in Crosby. That went on for months at the intersection of FM 2100 and US 90 on the paved shoulder as he walked into traffic and had cars parking in the moving lane to make purchases. He too is gone. That is the perfect example of why laws are made and should be enforced. Give them an inch and they will eventually take a mile.

    • It is state wide, I read something about it last week, but don’t remember if it was a new law from the legislature, or if it was a state court ruling.

  2. Well some people need help along the way but they do it in Houston and it’s ok if Jesus was standing on the conorer what would they do pass him by right.I do understand the children situation but if someone is homeless no matter the circumstances I would still help…..

  3. I’m not against the ruling and I do believe that this is a move to keep people safe from distracted drivers. There’s already a law pertaining to impeding traffic, so this really isn’t anything new. How ever, I find it hard to believe that just because Fire departments have the liability insurance, professional experience, equipment and permission to solicit safely at intersections, that they are exempt. A person that’s distracted or impaired wether it be the person in the vehicle or the one who is soliciting safely is still in harm’s way. A person no matter who or what they are cannot react to a vehicle coming at them when they are distracted. I believe that the fire department’s would benefit better by doing fish fry’s, barbecues and other such things like others, which would be a lot more safe than soliciting on the corner of the highway.

    • What would be better would the fire departments having Emergency Services Districts so they don’t have to do fundraising PERIOD!

      That said, the reason most do this type of fundraising is due to the time versus reward involved. Those barbeques, fish fries, etc., pull in far less than fill-the-bucket fundraisers, especially when you consider all the hours of planning and preparation that go into those fundraisers.

  4. The fire departments need to be prevented from begging just the same as everyone else. They are still disrupting traffic flow, they are impeding it, and are distracting drivers. Another case of rules for thee but not for me.

      • More would vote yes but the County is taxing everyone to death and do nothing so they vote no on any tax increase. The CAD says we will add $10,000 a year for improvements that were never done because they can. Everyone knows how hard it is for VFD to raise money.

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