Barry Alan Swegle was booked into the Clallam County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief following the incident in Port Angeles, 65 miles west of Seattle. A voice mail message left at a phone listing for the 51-year-old was not immediately returned.
Sheriff's spokesman Jim Borte said investigators were told that Swegle and his neighbors had a long-running dispute, but it's not clear over what. The rampage knocked over a utility pole and left a pickup truck destroyed, and the downed power lines were preventing authorities from fully evaluating the damage to the homes.
Borte said the machine was an International Harvester TD-25, similar to a Caterpillar D-9. Investigators were looking into whether the man owned it.
Keith Haynes lives near one of the damaged homes and told the Peninsula Daily News that the man "just went nuts." Haynes said a woman inside one of the homes escaped unharmed.
"He took a skidder and took out two houses," Haynes said. "I mean demolished."
At one point thousands of people were without power, but within a few hours it had been restored to all but 200 customers, said Clallam County Public Utility District spokesman Mike Howe. He said power would remain out to those customers at least through early Saturday morning.
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