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DID VANDALS SEND 40-TON TRUCK CAREENING DOWN BOUNTIFUL HILL?

SHARE DID VANDALS SEND 40-TON TRUCK CAREENING DOWN BOUNTIFUL HILL?

Paul Peterson spent his 53rd birthday taking pictures of crews pulling a 40-ton truck out of his house.

"It's a good birthday," he said. "Nobody was hurt."Peterson and his family had left their home in the city's foothills Thursday just before a heavy truck filled with water broke from a construction site, careened through 200 feet of oak brush and into the back of the house.

"We are normally right where that came in," he said, nodding at the rig, which crews pulled out of the house Friday afternoon.

The accident occurred while Peterson and his wife, Jackie, were celebrating Paul's birthday with a dinner at his parent's home.

Utah Highway Patrol investigators spent four hours Friday inspecting the truck to determine how it could have left the construction site above the Petersons' home without an operator.

The owners of the rig, Harper Excavating, believe vandals might have started the big machine rolling.

"We have evidence that there was some tampering," said Lawnie Mayhew, Harper's director of risk management, noting that the truck's fuel switch had been turned on.

Mayhew said the company has experienced a lot of vandalism on its rigs this summer.

"We've hired a security company to patrol our site. They'll be here during the nights," he said.

Bountiful police, however, said it's too early to determine whether vandals were responsible.

"We expect UHP's report in a day or so. We'll wait for it to make any judgments," said Lt. Bill Collard.

Meanwhile, Peterson and his family will stay at a neighbor's home and then look for other lodging.

Harper's insurance company is working with the Petersons to make sure damage to the home is paid for, Mayhew said.

"We'll rebuild it. I don't know whether we'll start from scratch or not," Peterson said.

He estimated damage exceeded $100,000.