Port Angeles man arrested after bulldozer rampage damages four homes

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man angry with his neighbors was arrested Friday after a rampage with a bulldozer-like logging machine that damaged four houses, numerous outbuildings, a pickup truck and a power pole, knocking out power to thousands of people.

One of the homes was knocked off its foundation.

Barry Alan Swegle, 51, was booked into the Clallam County jail for investigation of malicious mischief in the first degree, a Class B felony, with no bond set.

Authorities reported no injuries.

Clallam County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Borte said investigators were told that Swegle and his neighbors had a long-running dispute, although he wasn’t sure what it was about.

Phil Riley, a neighbor who witnessed the destruction, said a property line dispute between Swegle and property owner Dan Davis, whose two properties were severely damaged, “had been brewing for some time.”

Keith Haynes, who lives near the badly damaged homes on Baker Street in the Gales Addition area east of Port Angeles, said his neighbor “just went nuts.”

“He took a skidder and took out two houses,” Haynes said. “I mean demolished.”

A skidder is a bulldozer-like device used in logging. Haynes said Swegle owned the equipment. Borte said the machine was an International Harvester TD-25, similar to a Caterpillar D-9.

A Barry Swegle logging company is listed as having been founded in 1997. The phone number has been disconnected.

“It was like a war zone,” said Haynes, a former law enforcement officer who has lived in Gales Addition for two years.

Damage to the power pole tripped a Bonneville Power Administration line, which cut power to “thousands” of customers between Gales Addition and Sequim at about 12:20 p.m., Clallam County Public Utility District spokesman Mike Howe.

Power had been restored to all but about 200 customers in Gales Addition and its immediate vicinity by 3:14 p.m.

The remaining customers were expected to be without power into the evening or early this morning.

“This is a mess down here,” Howe said.

At some point in the restoration, customers on South Mount Angeles Road were to experience a brief outage, Howe said.

Police activity prompted the closure at 1 p.m. of both directions of U.S. Highway 101 from Milepost 250.07 near Baker Street to Milepost 250.38 near Monroe Road, the state Department of Transportation said.

Both lanes of the highway were reopened 16 minutes later, Transportation said.