Police: Father attacks son with bulldozer at Maltby nursery

John Postema, 78, the owner of Flower World, reportedly has had disputes with his son in the past.

MALTBY — The owner of the Maltby nursery Flower World allegedly used a bulldozer to push his son’s SUV, with his son inside, down an embankment Thursday morning.

The incident took place about 7 a.m., on the north side of the 15-acre business that has been owned by the family since 1968.

John Postema, 78, was on one side of a barbed wire fence, piling up dirt, according to a report by a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy. His son was on the other side, working a backhoe on his own property.

After working on opposite sides of the property line, the younger man got into his Jeep Cherokee.

Then, he told deputies, his father allegedly drove the bulldozer through the fence and pushed the Jeep about 80 feet and down a 20-foot embankment.

John Postema was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault. At a bail hearing Friday, public defender Tobin Klusty argued that there wasn’t enough evidence for probable cause. How fast the bulldozer was going, or whether the son was injured, was not described in the report, Klusty said.

Judge Anthony Howard found probable cause for first-degree assault, but, noting Postema’s age and lack of criminal history, released him without bail.

The arrest report didn’t say whether a dispute preceded the attack, but according to a witness statement, the two “have been fighting for a long time, and they are always arguing.”

Court records appear to back up that statement.

Postema’s son allegedly attacked a Flower World employee in December. According to an arrest report, the employee was “being paid to watch over the property and deter (the son) from causing more damage to the property.”

The son was charged with third-degree assault after allegedly ramming the worker’s truck, pushing the vehicle about 50 yards and causing it to crash into a greenhouse. The employee suffered injuries to his leg from being caught in the door, which was open when the vehicle was struck.

A jury trial is scheduled for September for that case.

Postema also filed several protection orders against his son, citing property damage and another possible attack, but those so far have been dismissed by a judge.

A civil lawsuit is also currently active, also regarding damage the son allegedly caused on Postema’s property.

In addition to Flower World, Postema has been involved in several local agricultural groups, including the Snohomish County Farm Bureau and the Snohomish County Growers Alliance.

He made headlines in The Daily Herald in the early 2000s for his support of the controversial “Right to Plow” initiative, which would have done away with land use permitting for just about anything related to agriculture.

At the time, he had racked up at least six citations for violating county development regulations, according to the article.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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