Homeowner unleashes sprinklers on parade spectators, elderly woman among those soaked

Posted at 9:54 PM, Jul 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-09 23:54:44-04

RIVERDALE, Utah -- An 84-year-old grandma from Roy leaves a Fourth of July Parade in Riverdale soaked after home owners purposely turn the sprinklers on her and her family, then admittedly laugh at them.

Lois Biddle said she was enjoying the parade with her grandson when the sprinklers went off.

"I wonder if I brought this upon myself because I walked on that lady’s lawn with a walker and maybe she was irritated because maybe I went through instead of staying on the sidewalk but the sidewalks were full of people so I didn't do that," Biddle said.

Biddle has a difficult time walking and wanted to find a shady spot underneath a tree to sit down. She was on the property of Sheri Vandenakker, who has had a history of issues with parade watchers for years.

"There was no retaliating against anyone of any kind and I apologize if I hurt her or did anything, but it's just frustrating because we work so hard to take care of our lawn and people just camp out under our tree," Vandenakker said.

She said there were more than 30 people in the yard and she wanted to make a point.

"We got frustrated, and some people got angry with us, so we turned on the sprinklers," Vandenakker said.

Vandenakker said she didn’t realize a woman of Biddle’s age was among the crowd, and she said if she knew she was there she would not have unleashed the sprinklers.

There are also witness accounts that Vandenakker sat in her car and laughed at the people as they got wet.

“I guess I kind of got a little kick out of it, you know," Vandenakker said.

The home was later vandalized with toilet paper and trash, which Vandekkar believes was in retaliation. No citations were issued.

Kathy Larsen is a friend of Lois, and doesn't understand how something like this can happen.

"She walks with a walker, she is extremely slow, she's not somebody who is agile that can move fast," Larsen said. “I was appalled myself because you don't do that to people."

Riverdale Police acknowledged that people being on the property has been a major problem for the owners for several years. This has some residents asking why the officer on duty didn't do more if he knew it was going to be an issue. Some people on social media accused the officer of knowing the sprinklers were going to go off.

They also wonder why the officer didn’t help people like Biddle once the incident took place.

Lt. Scott Brenkman of the Riverdale Police Department said the officer had no idea the sprinklers would go off. He also said the officer’s responsibility is traffic on the road, not helping people find places to sit.

As for Biddle, she said she has learned a new lesson for next year.

“I'll watch out a little bit and I won't cut across anyone's lawn, I promise," Biddle said.