SEATTLE — A man in Port Angeles, Wash., went on a rampage with a bulldozer Friday afternoon after quarreling with a neighbor and plowed through four structures, a pickup truck and a power line, cutting electricity to homes as far as 20 miles away.
One of the homes was swept from its foundation and smashed into another house, Clallam County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Borte told the Los Angeles Times.
There were no apparent injuries, though a woman was at home in one of the less-damaged structures and managed to escape, he said.
Authorities said Barry Swegle, 51, who lives next door to the most damaged property, has been arrested on a charge of malicious mischief.
Borte said Swegle had apparently been involved in a dispute with a neighbor.
“As I understand it, there was an argument that had taken place,” he said. “This was the outcome of the dispute.”
Authorities said Swegle took an International Harvester TD-25 and aimed it squarely at the first house, pushing it 50 feet away into another house and running over a pickup truck in the process.
“The one house was actually taken off its foundation and was basically demolished,” Borte said. “He struck three ... homes in the area, and also a garage. He also ran over the pickup truck from the back and over the cab. It’s completely totaled as well.”
Borte said he could not say whether the most damaged home belonged to the person with whom Swegle was allegedly arguing, but said police do not think anyone was present in that home.
“If anybody had been in that house, I don’t think they would have survived that,” he said.
Mike Howe of the Clallam County Public Utility District said a power pole on the property was “literally just snapped in half.” That tripped supply lines controlled by the federal Bonneville Power Administration and prompted blackouts that stretched as far as the town of Sequim, 20 miles away.
Power to most homes was restored within a few hours. “We’re to the point now where we have about 200 customers without power, and they’re going to be without power well into the evening or early morning, maybe 10 or 12 hours,” Howe said.
Public records show Swegle as the owner of a small company that has done work in logging, trucking and land development.
Keith Haynes, who lives nearby, told the Peninsula Daily News that one of the neighbors “went nuts” and “demolished” the houses.
“It was like a war zone,” he said.
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