DECATUR COUNTY, Iowa (WHO/CNN) – The sheriff of Decatur County, Iowa, and his deputies were sent out for a routine domestic disturbance call in Grand River Thursday afternoon, but it turned out to be anything but ordinary.
"This was, I guess, a multi-layer family conflict,” said Special Agent Adam Decamp with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. “There was mom and brother and nephew, and so there was a whole conglomeration of people that were there."
When the sheriff and his deputies arrived, they were confronted by something they weren’t expecting.
They say 54-year-old Gerry Greenland tried to impale them with a large hay bale spear attached to his 13,000-pound John Deere tractor.
"Tractor comes out of a barn, comes towards the first deputy, who's in his vehicle,” Decamp said. “Attempts to make contact with the deputy's vehicle. The deputy was able to avoid contact, then the tractor driver turned his attention to Sheriff Boswell."
Investigators said Sheriff Ben Boswell was unable to avoid the attack and narrowly escaped death.
"The driver of the tractor made a direct line for the driver's side door of Sheriff Boswell's vehicle, made contact with the vehicle, driving one of the tines into the passenger compartment on the driver's side where Sheriff Boswell was,” Decamp said. “Then pushed the vehicle more than 100 feet from the original point of contact."
Decamp said it was a miracle the spear only hit the patrol car and did not severely injure or kill Boswell.
“He could tell us that he was clearly in fear for his life, as you can imagine,” Decamp said. “The tines on that bale spear are 3 feet long, so the damage that could cause to a human body is quite significant.”
Greenland is now facing a charge of attempted murder.