PORT ANGELES — Forgiveness and an apology were part of the deal.
Barry Alan Swegle, a Port Angeles man who, wielding a bulldozer, laid waste to his neighbors’ property in June 2013, has satisfied a $734,566 judgment against him, according to the neighbors’ Port Angeles lawyer, Lane Wolfley.
The incident drew nationwide media attention and was characterized as a prototypical neighborhood dispute in an episode of ABC’s “20/20.”
Wolfley, who represented neighbors Barbara and James Porter, and Mary and Daniel Davis, filed the settlement of the civil case against Swegle last Friday in Superior Court.
Swegle’s Gales Addition property east of Port Angeles was transferred to his clients in September 2016 in a Clallam County Sheriff’s sale for $250,000, which was credited against the $734,566 judgment, Wolfley said.
The Porters and Davises forgave the unpaid balance, satisfying the judgment, Wolfley said.
Barbara Porter said Tuesday she bore no anger toward Swegle for his actions.
“I forgive him,” Barbara Porter, who knew Swegle when he was a young boy, said Tuesday.
“That’s my Christmas present to Barry.
“That’s all I can give him.
“We want Barry to have a good life, and hopefully, it comes out to be a good life for him.”
Swegle, 55, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Wolfley said Swegle still lives in Port Angeles.
“No man could apologize more than Barry Swegle has at this point, so the Davises and Porters said, ‘We give you your life back’ by forgiving the approximately $500,000 that is owed,” Wolfley said.
“Barry offered all of his property.
“Barry Swegle did a very honorable and big-hearted thing, but so did the Davises and the Porters.
“This would not have been possible a year ago.”
Wolfley had filed the complaint for unspecified damages for trespass, wrongful conversion of real and personal property, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress June 13, 2013, a month after Swegle went on his rampage.
According to court documents, Swegle rammed his TD-25 bulldozer into two houses, a shed, automobiles, a tractor, fencing, trees, machinery and a utility pole in his Gales Addition neighborhood east of Port Angeles at about noon May 10, 2013.
He also rode up on and flattened the roof of Dan Davis’ 2003 Ford F-250 pickup truck during the 10-minute spree.
He drove the bulldozer on North Baker Street, East Pioneer Road and East Ryan Drive before stopping the piece of heavy equipment and surrendering to a deputy without incident.
Swegle told then-Clallam County’s Sheriff’s Deputy Jef Boyd what happened, according to the probable cause statement.
“Swegle told Deputy Boyd that he had a confrontation earlier with [Daniel] Davis and he is tired of dealing with him over property issues,” Swegle said.
“Swegle said he got into the bulldozer and pushed the houses back.”
Under a plea deal, Swegle was sentenced in May 2014 to 29-months in prison on multiple counts of malicious mischief and reckless endangerment.
Daniel Davis had told Peninsula Daily News on May 25, 2014, that he disagreed with the plea deal, saying, “It’s not what we thought justice was.”
Swegle served six months at the minimum-medium-security Washington Corrections Center at Shelton before he was released in December 2014 for good behavior and with time served.
Swegle was penalized with the monetary-judgment verdict following a Superior Court bench trial in May 2015.
The Porters, Davises and Swegle met separately with Wolfley in October to hammer out a settlement of the judgment, Wolfley said Tuesday.
The couples did not talk face-to-face with the man they said made them fear for their lives, meeting in far ends of Wolfley’s law office, Porter said.
The Davises and Porters were the lone bidders in a sheriff’s sale for Swegle’s 405 N. Baker St. property, Wolfley said.
The parcels totaled 1.4 acres and were valued at $213,400, according to the county Assessor’s Office.
The Davises and Porters bid $250,000 on the property at a sheriff’s sale for the property as the lone bidders, Wolfley said.
Wolfley said interest was accruing on the judgment at a rate of $7,000 a month.
“It became clear that it was impossible for Barry to ever get out from underneath the judgment,” Wolfley said.
Under the civil court judgment, Swegle owed $669,862 in damages to the Davises, whose property suffered the greatest destruction.
The Davises could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Swegle owed the Porters $64,153.
The damages listed in the probable cause statement totaled $300,000, including $5,000 to a fence dividing Swegle’s property from the Davises that Swegle ran over at the beginning of the incident and $15,000 in damage to the Porters’ residence.
Swegle shoved one of the Davises’ two homes that Swegle destroyed into the Porters’ mobile home at 2313 E. Pioneer Road, according to court documents.
“That was pretty scary, I’ll tell you that,” Porter recalled.
“I was in my own house watching Barry shove Mr. Davis’ home into mine.”
Swegle shoved a storage shed so close to her mobile home that the floor of the shed went under the structure.
Porter said she could reach out and pick tools off the wall.
“It was right there,” she recalled.
She said Swegle’s dispute was with the Davises, not her.
“I just got in the way,” she said.
The Davises have paid the Porters $11,000 for their portion of settlement damages, which the couple spent on repairs to their home, Barbara said.
“It’s fine with me,” she said of the amount she received.
“It was enough to replace everything that was destroyed and damaged.”
Wolfley said Swegle’s property and bulldozer will be put up for sale.
“I don’t want the bulldozer, no, I don’t,” Porter said.
“I still have nightmares, I tell you.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].