DECATUR COUNTY, Iowa – An Iowa man is facing a charge of attempted murder after allegedly using a tractor to push the Decatur County Sheriff’s vehicle, with him in it, after law enforcement was called about a fight among family members.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety says 54-year-old Gerry Greenland was taken into custody following the incident Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies were called to 14163 120th Avenue in rural Grand River just after 3:00 p.m. on a report of an altercation between family members.
"This was multi-layer family conflict. There was mom and brother and nephew, a whole conglomeration of people that were there," Iowa DCI Special Agent Adam DeCamp said.
The first deputy to arrive was confronted by Greenland, who was driving a John Deere 4250 tractor with a front-end bale spear. Greenland drove the tractor toward the deputy’s vehicle, forcing the deputy to take evasive action to avoid being hit.
"The tractor comes out of a barn, comes toward the first deputy who is in his vehicle. Attempts to make contact with the deputies vehicle. The deputy was able to avoid contact. Then the tractor turned his attention to Sheriff Boswell," DeCamp said.
Greenland then drove the tractor toward Sheriff Boswell’s vehicle, hitting it on the side and piercing the driver’s side door with the bale spear tines. The tractor pushed the vehicle for 100 feet before stopping.
"He could tell us he was clearly in fear for his life. As you can imagine, the tines on that bale spear are three feet long. So the damage that could cause to a human body is quite significant," DeCamp said.
Deputies were able to take Greenland into custody without incident.
"Once he was removed from the tractor, there were no further incidents with him, no other violence, no other attempts to resist," DeCamp said.
Investigators said officers did not open fire on Greenland during the incident though they would have been justified under Iowa law in doing so.
"Maybe they didn’t have a clear view of the target. Obviously Sheriff Boswell is inside of a vehicle and you’ve got a tractor that is going to sit up above him. It’s possible he couldn’t see it. You’ve also got the placement of other officers to take into consideration," DeCamp said.
Sheriff Boswell was not injured.