Man in custody after destructive rampage with bulldozer in Port Angeles


PORT ANGELES, Wash. - Investigators said a man in Port Angeles angry over new construction near his home went on a rampage and drove a bulldozer into three houses trying to destroy them. 

The incident happened on Highway 101 at North Baker Street. 

A resident in the area told the Peninsula Daily News that the man took a piece of logging equipment and "just went nuts."

Keith Haynes, who lives near one of the damaged homes, told the newspaper that a woman inside one of the homes escaped unharmed.

Authorities arrested 51-year-old  Barry Swegle.

According to investigators, Swegle was angry with several neighbors over fence lines he felt were too close to his home. 

One neighbor, Judith Walters, saw the bulldozer go through a home.

“I saw a tractor, out of control, I thought. And it plowed into the white house over here,” said Walters. "And she was in the doorway with her dog, her little Chihuahua and yeah, I was screaming at her at the top of my lungs, 'Get out of the house!'"

Walters saw Swegle repeatedly slam into the home.

Gary Blevins told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News he has known Swegle since he was a boy, and has been concerned about his behavior for years.

“It makes my heart sad that he pulled anything like this,” Blevins said. "I even told the neighbor one time, I said, 'You better watch him.'"

Chopper 7 flew over the scene, where a power pole was down, homes were gutted or damaged, and a truck was flattened.

Video showed a fence was twisted and broken, belongings were strewn outside homes, and a boat was ripped from its trailer.

The state Department of Transportation said the downed power pole caused power and traffic signals in the area to go out. 

Highway 101 was closed for a time but has since reopened.  Some power was restored.  

According to the Clallam County Public Utility District, power was restored to most except about 200 Gales Addition customers, who will be affected by an extended outage.

The outage is expected to go on late into Friday evening or early Saturday morning.

All customers on South Mt. Angeles will experience a brief outage as well.

Customers up Golf Course Road, along Ennis and Pioneer, Roll-Inn Trailer Par and the area West of Gales will be without power into the evening, said officials with the PUD.

Authorities said no injuries were reported.