Hay bales on foggy rural highway could have killed someone

A vandal who pushed three large hay bales onto a rural road in the dark could have killed someone, said an outraged Central Alberta farmer, who’s fed up with rural vandalism. Dennis Duncan woke up on Sunday morning to discover someone had driven a pickup truck through his canola field, located halfway between Bentley and Sylvan Lake. The same rampaging vehicle had apparently also torn through his brother’s wheat field and the fields of two other area farmers.

Hay bales pushed onto a rural highway between Bentley and Sylvan Lake by vandals.

Hay bales pushed onto a rural highway between Bentley and Sylvan Lake by vandals.

A vandal who pushed three large hay bales onto a rural road in the dark could have killed someone, said an outraged Central Alberta farmer, who’s fed up with rural vandalism.

Dennis Duncan woke up on Sunday morning to discover someone had driven a pickup truck through his canola field, located halfway between Bentley and Sylvan Lake. The same rampaging vehicle had apparently also torn through his brother’s wheat field and the fields of two other area farmers.

More seriously, 24 out of 200 bales in a neighbouring farmer’s field had been wrecked sometime Saturday night. And three additional bales had been pushed into the middle of a rural road, just over the crest of a hill on Saturday night, where they would have been invisible to motorists driving in the dark or in the early morning fog on Sunday.

Duncan recalled the same scenario, done as a Halloween prank, killed the son of a family friend in 1971. “He drove over the top of a hill, hit a bale and rolled his car.”

Sylvan Lake RCMP are investigating the latest case, which included someone pushing the three hay bales onto Rural Road 1-5, about 3.2 km west and 1.6 km south of Rainy Creek Road.

Const. Rod Johnson said smashing into a 675 kg (1,500 pound) bale could have caused a serious motor vehicle accident. “We’re lucky no one went down that road in the dark at 80 km per hour . . .(hitting the bale) would have caused quite the jolt.”

Johnson said the rampage, which involved dangerous driving, mischief and trespassing, caused at least $3,500 damage.

Police already have a suspect from the area in the case and believe alcohol was involved. It’s still under investigation.

While Johnson said this is the first time he’s investigated this kind of incident, Duncan said quads are often driven through farmer’s fields, but the culprits are rarely caught.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com