'Nuts' neighbour revs up bulldozer to settle boundary dispute

By Peter Foster

A crushed truck and wrecked houses were among the results of the bulldozer rampage. Photo / AP
A crushed truck and wrecked houses were among the results of the bulldozer rampage. Photo / AP

A US logging contractor took neighbourly score-settling to a new level when he jumped into his bulldozer and demolished two houses, flattened a pick-up truck and snapped an electricity pole, causing power cuts in a 30km radius.

Neighbours in Port Angeles, a town of 19,000 people 130km northwest of Seattle, said a long-running boundary dispute was behind the rampage.

Local police said Barry Swegle, 51, was being held on suspicion of "malicious mischief in the first degree" after allegedly firing up his luminous-orange International Harvester TD-25 bulldozer with "skidder" attachment and setting to work.

Aerial pictures showed that one property had been ripped clean off its foundations and shunted several hundred metres into a neighbouring plot. Remarkably, police said no one was injured in the wrecking spree.

"He just went nuts," said Keith Haynes, who lives near the badly damaged homes.

He told the Peninsula Daily News: "He took a skidder and took out two houses. I mean, demolished." Phil Riley, who witnessed the destruction, said a property line dispute between Swegle and neighbour, Dan Davis, whose property was pushed off its foundation and into a neighbouring plot, had been "brewing for some time".

Jesse Major, a 19-year-old student who said his grandmother lived in one of the damaged homes, told the Seattle Times that Swegle sometimes dug seemingly random holes with a bulldozer late at night. He said his grandmother wasn't hurt in the incident, but added: "Of course she was scared, something was being pushed into her house."

A spokesman for the local power utility said a pole was snapped in half, tripping supply lines and causing blackouts.

A spokesman for the local sheriff said that Swegle had been booked into the county jail with no bail bond set. "As I understand it, there was an argument that had taken place," he told the Los Angeles Times. "This was the outcome of the dispute."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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