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

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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.

63 comments

  • jake

    A roll of “do not cross tape is $10.” The owner knew the problem would occur, and should have taken a simple precaution by separating her property, and making it clear that she was not the friendly type. I wonder what water restrictions are in place at her residence, its too bad she didn’t get busted for watering on the wrong day.

  • nk

    There is a watering restriction and the officer on duty said he knew she would turn on the sprinklers, and when he was questioned about the watering restriction his reply was “they can water when they want because its when I say so.”

    • Trish Ramirez

      Oh, I’m sure. I’ve been reading about this on a few sites, and it sounds like the cop pretty much had the homeowner’s back.

      If it’s that big of a deal, the homeowner should be dealing with the city or parade organizers for bringing a crowd to their lawn.

      Of course, what can we expect in a society where someone’s nice lawn is more important than a little bit of human compassion and decency.

      And since when do cops get to ignore other goings on just because they are directing traffic? What if someone had been in a fist fight or was being assaulted? Would that have not been the cop in the vicinities problem, because he was directing traffic?

      This is a case of something being seriously wrong with people’s priorities, and if I were the homeowner I would expect more TPings and the like, because people around here don’t take too kindly to people pushing around the elderly.

      Some people are just not decent, and that’s the bottom line.

      • kartmann

        Decent, intelligent, respectful people wouldn’t squat on someones lawn in the first place. I don’t care how old she was. She deserved to get doused.

        She must have voted for FDR. She’s clearly a self-entitled liberal.

        STAY OFF OTHER PEOPLE’S LAWNS! I feel like I shouldn’t have to say that.

      • kc

        Really…. so because it is legal in your head to assault someone for sitting on your lawn (which it isn’t)……I can assault you for being stupid? It is never legal to assault someone.
        Decent, intelligent, respectful people would know this. …. and also would have the capability, capacity, and decency of a normal human being. You should be so proud yourself for being OK with dousing elderly women and newborn babies. What a loser…..

      • bb

        It is assault. Look it up. If you want to call being maliciously sprayed with water as you stand on a parking strip and your child is knocked over and kicked in the head from running people anything other than assault and battery, I think YOU have a problem. Fix your problems first.

      • mica1961

        They weren’t on the parking strip.
        as·sault and bat·ter·y
        nounLAW
        the crime of threatening a person together with the act of making physical contact with them.
        In this country we keep giving serious definitions to minor offenses, and it’s counterproductive. When you have been assaulted, and battered, you will know the definition, and it’s not sprinkled water. I’m not sure which problem I have, that you are advising I ‘fix.’ I have many, but I don’t think any of them prohibit me from commenting.
        As to the child, I would really have a problem with someone kicking my child in the head, accidentally or not. Why aren’t you mad them for not watching out for children?

      • bb

        People were on the park strip. I was there and we were also sprayed and trampled because of the act of the home owner. The child was kicked in the head from someone running from water…..from the sprinklers….. I’m glad you are capable of looking up a definition. Now look up the whole definition and UNDERSTAND it.

      • Shane

        BB I know for a fact people were not on the park strip so don’t make innuendoes when you for a fact, if you were there, people in their entirety were not only on the park strip/sidewalk.

      • Trish Ramirez

        If this homeowner had any kind of decency, she not only would have allowed this 84 year old woman to sit in the shade on her lawn for 1 hour for an Independence Day Parade, she would have offered her a chair and/or a drink, too.
        This isn’t about being a liberal or conservative, this is about being a decent person with some manners and compassion.
        Then again, I would imagine that you are the kind of person that would honk and yell at an elderly pedestrian for taking too long in a crosswalk and interfering with your day rather than getting out and helping them across the street.
        From the way you talk, your political platform is to turn the elderly into Soylent Green so they can serve some purpose rather than being in the way and a burden.
        This homeowner is just not a nice person, anyone with common sense can see that. The fact that you’re defending her appalling behavior and turning it into something political says volumes about your hateful mentality and is the very reason why the Republican party will never control the White House again.

      • girl

        If any of them were to get hurt on her property she would have been libel for it and at risk for lawsuit. Maybe you missed it, but she said she wouldn’t have turned on the sprinklers if she had seen the elderly woman there, so apparently there were enough people on the lawn she couldn’t see the old woman. All adults who know better. And it also said she got frustrated when they began arguing with her about getting off her lawn. I would have turned on the sprinklers after that…or I would have demanded the cops come out and cite everyone for trespassing, caused them to have court dates and fines. So they got off lucky.

      • Trish Ramirez

        Blah blah blah.

        Lawsuit? Injuries?

        We are talking about a group of people sitting on some grass to watch a parade and an ornery old homeowner more concerned about people leaving behind prints on her precious grass that being a decent human being for one hour out of the year.

        I’m sure you and Eric would have turned on the sprinklers and called the cops, because apparently that’s how we are supposed to deal with other human beings nowadays. We can’t possibly just be friendly and kind and decent for a little while, we need to involve the police over our grass’s well-being.

        Do you not see the ridiculousness of the situation?

        It shouldn’t have mattered if the people were 8 or 18 or 84. There was no need to be such a jerk about the situation.

        It’s some grass.

        Grass that I can imagine will be seeing it’s fair share of abuse, TP, eggs and shaving cream in the near future when the neighborhood kids get wind of how this lady feels she needs to treat people.

        Then again, I’m sure her neighbors already know what a raunch she is and are laughing amongst themselves that she’s been called out on it on TV.

        This entire situation could have been avoided if the homeowner would have had a little bit of decency.

      • Julie Whittier

        Weel form the looks of the comments imagine if someone was hurt. We are talking about water. And where is the person that started this lynching. Is she so ashamed she is hiding ? I would like to see what she thinks about wanting to have a officers job gone.

      • girl

        Blah Blah Blah…just another excuse to be rude to your neighbors then when the neighbor responds, she’s the mean one. You, Trish, are an idiot. A moronic idiot. She asked them to get off her property. They did not move. They got wet. Simple as that. Maybe keeping the message simpler will be better for you to comprehend. Oh wait, I used a big word.

      • Trish Ramirez

        Girl, some of us dig being kind even when the law doesn’t require us to do so. We don’t need cops or legislators or the BYU mormon morality police telling up to help the elderly cross the street, to not hose them down, or to treat them with dignity and respect rather than as though they are wasting oxygen simply by existing.

        I wouldn’t want anyone to legally REQUIRE homeowners to allow their neighbors to sit on their precious lawns during public gatherings, I just think that anyone with a shred of common decency would agree that it is the decent and human thing to do. Far preferable to battering them with water and creating a public nuisance by making a public sidewalk wet and slippery during a parade where thousands of people are using it to get by.

  • KARMA WILL GET YOU!!

    Really sad the way she treated American people when asked if she laugh about it it took her a min to say but like they say karma not one to play with you worked had to keep your grass green but for an hour parade your going to be that hateful.

  • girl

    Good for the landowner…sorry for the elderly lady, but every one of the other trespassers got what they deserved.

    • It's called being a decent human being

      Uhh it’s not trespassing if there’s not a sign. The property is not posted. They had no interaction with the homeowner stating that they couldn’t be there.

      • Rob

        Entrance onto residential properties is granted through implied license, but only for very limited purposes. Coming to the door to knock, for example. Basically, it means even without express permission, entrance onto the property is acceptable for specific reasons.

        Those reason do not include camping out on the yard, or blocking entry ways. Those who do so are trespassing, and no notice or sign is required.

      • bb

        Rob…no one was camped out or blocking entry ways. The owner freely left after maliciously tuning on the sprinklers, so obviously no one was blocking anything.

    • Julie Whittier

      Exactly !! we are a society that turns everything in \to a lynch mob..
      What about respect for others things. Let’s see what the person that started this would do if we all showed up an camped out for some much needed shade on a hot day.

  • Julie Whittier

    Okay, I have to chime in here. I live on a parade route. 3 days before an event I have to tape off every inch of my yard. Hang signs and such. If I don’t there is no room for me to enjoy something on my property that goes by. I pick up all the mess. I have to even block off my driveway so we can get in and out of our townhouses. I actually have been yelled at .spit on and swore at. While “taping” and hanging signs I have had people pull over and get out and yell. It is not right that i have to do that to my own home. I actually had someone go in my home and use my bathroom room !!!! One year I could not get out of my front door because a family had camped on my front step, . I have to lock every door to sit on my lawn to enjoy a few hours with my family. I had some families ask if they cold sit on my lawn and I let them. I said “Because you asked I would love you to “. My problem with this story is that the person that put it out in the media was asking others to report the officer. She ASSUMED he knew about it when he did not. Funny how people was interviewed in this story that was not there other than the sweet little lady. Yes she got wet but to go after a man doing his job and asking others that did not see the incident I think it terrible. How come the whistle blower was not interviewed.? She seemed to know everything She should be ashamed of herself., What a sweet lady to not be angry about this. Too bad we all can’t be like her and she was the one that got wet.

    • Aa

      I’m glad you rope off your area and are present to talk to those who are in area. This homeowner was not around. If she did not appreciate it a roped off yard or standing outside talking to others could have prevented it.

      Being there officer did make those comments. He just didn’t handle it very well.

  • Aa

    I was sitting under her tree with family . After visiting parade for years and meeting many homeowners who are gracious to share yards and water I believed it was the riverdale way. The homeowner showed her true colors as she did sit in car for a few minutes with husband laughing as we all scrambled to move. They did leave allowing us to enjoy celebrating our freedom and taking part in a community event.

    Thank goodness her house was up for sale. Hopefully she will move and new homeowners will not bah humbug next years event.

    As far as police officer, he was laughing as well as he crossed street to try to calm everyone down. He said he knew it was coming. He was arrogant, rude, and was extremely concerned that two individuals decided to throw one strand of toilet paper in tree and a few wads on the wet grass. After parade he did spend a few minutes cleaning the yard. I was glad he felt bad for homeowner. NKs comments above are 100% accurate as I made same complaint to officer while it was all going down.

    To prevent this in future riverdale should move parade to riverdale road. Let’s see if car dealerships will move cars onto sidewalks to prevent people from enjoying the parade.

    • Trish Ramirez

      I agree that if the event is going to be this huge and homeowners are going to be this rude and disrespectful, the organizers of the parade should be changing the route to prevent people from being treated so badly.

      I live in Provo, and I never see people act this way. People come and save seats before the parades – people who are going to use their lawns for their own families will block them off, people who don’t watch the parades often have strangers sitting on their lawns and they laugh and joke and meet new people and get along.

      In Nephi, the parades close down the entire Main Street of the town. People go around it. If you live on Main Street, you know to move your vehicle somewhere else if you want to move it around during the festivities – because if you don’t it’s going to be stuck in the driveway. People share yards and commercial grassy areas and parks. People bring blankets and chairs and GET ALONG, which is supposed to be the purpose of a community event like this.

      I don’t understand people being so selfish and rude about something that happens every year and for such a short time. Talk about entitled babies.

    • pf

      Apparenty you don’t understand the law. Officers have to follow the law. It is not against the law to turn on sprinklers. It is against the law to trespass on personal property and to vandalize it.

  • Julie Whittier

    Property owners are not there to serve the public drinks and accommodate them on their property., Fox 13 is welcome to come an film at my house next July 4th to see what the home owners put up with., I want to thank to officers in my area that help keep our parades safe . It is not their job to be a concierge for the public. Just because you live on a parade route does not give the public permission to take over your yard. You should not even have to post not rope off things

    • Trish Ramirez

      Mine mine mine!!
      Nobody gets to touch MY grass!
      How dare you park your vehicle near MY curb.
      What about MY view.
      I didn’t say anyone should be required to serve the public drinks.
      I said a decent person would offer an elderly lady a drink and a chair and some shade.
      I’m not talking about what is required, I’m talking about what is decent and neighborly and respectful.
      It’s a 4th of July parade that takes place once a year.
      Stop being so self-centered and let people enjoy a great event for a few hours a year without being harassed by jerks who never learned to share.

      • Trish Ramirez

        How am I selfish and a hypocrite, little Girl?

        Because in the same situation as the homeowner I would treat my neighbors with decency and respect?

        Do you even know the definition of the words ‘selfish’ and ‘hypocrite’?

        I’m guessing that you don’t, they are just big words that you throw around when you have no substantive basis for your immature argument.

        I’m certainly glad I’m not your neighbor, I’m sure that’s a rough life.

      • Shane

        Trish stay off people’s property !! Period!! I know this homeowner so maybe fox 13 needs to post the interview in its entirety because this is absolute BS!!! The elderly woman is being used as a pawn because she just barely got wet. Never mind the 40 people on her lawn and the trash they were leaving. The elderly woman was in the parkway so this has nothing to do with her but everyone made it about her.

  • Daniel

    I would have turned them on anyways and would do it every year before a parade starts. Hell I’d bring out my paintball gun and if anyone vandalized my house for it I’d shoot them for real.

  • Joy Watkins

    In almost every city the Public Property is I believe the sidewalk and the grass between the road and sidewalk. Or the first 10 feet… PUBLIC PROPERTY!!! Homeowners are to keep the up-keep. You can not quarter off your property because its Public. Anyone who wants to can park on the street in front of your house as long as they are not blocking off your driveway or mailbox. And they can not charge for parking in front of their house. Let me say it again…IT IS PUBLIC PROPERTY!!! People on the other hand should clean their garbage up when they leave. That I can see as a problem, But to be so rude as turning on sprinklers at 10:30 right before the parade. Is just plain selfish! And RUDE! And all it takes according to Riverdale’s website is 3 complaints of possible injury due to getting kids and everything out of sprinklers, let alone this innocent person, That people had to go help after making sure their children were safe. I think it Qualifies!!! Riverdale do your Job and issue a ticket to this homeowner for obstruction of Public Property and Elderly and possibly child abuse. Makes me sick. Some People think they are better than everyone else. And Yes my cousin was there, The officer knew about it and that’s why he said he was sitting across the street. Probably from the home owners ward or something. How Christian like is that? What a way to serve and protect! Despicable!!!

    • girl

      She should have contacted the cops to have them removed from her property. And to be absolutely honest, the city should choose a different route.

    • Julie Whittier

      I knew it would not take long for the religion to be brought into it,l can tell you have never had to deal with this problem. You can’t tell me if someone just came and sat 9 feet into you yard you would not call the cops or as you are saying the local bishop.

      • mica1961

        What would have been funny, if the water was on a timer, then no one would have a gossipy news story nor a person to lambaste. It wasn’t a big deal parade anyway. Move it to Riverdale Road? Riiiggghhhtt. I imagine there would really be an uproar if people couldn’t get in and out of town, or go to the store, or drive through to Ogden. Their parkway is decorative rock. Even the picture shows people sitting on the yard. In a rural area, the public right of way would be 10 ft into the yard. But this isn’t rural. And a right of way is provided by the strip and the sidewalk. My question still remains. Why is this considered news worthy?

  • chad

    Lets make one thing clear, although you may have to take care of the parking strip on the far side of the side walk, YOU DO NOT OWN THAT AREA, you may have to mow that or take care of it but it is in fact owned by the city, they were totally in the wrong and should have took preparation for the parade if they didnt want people there.

  • Doug

    So everyone is up in arms over the homeowner who pays the mortgage and taxes on their property. The question I dont see anyone asking is,” Did any of these people who squatted on her property go knock on the door and ASK if they could sit in her yard to watch the parade?” Curtious goes both ways. If you ask permision people are more likely to be kind. I bet most on here would not want strangers just setting up camp on there front lawn.

    • Trish Ramirez

      It’s not as though this was a random group of people having a picnic on your average day.

      This was doing an organized community event, and some decency would have made the day a lot better for everyone.

      All this homeowner accomplished was demonstrating how childish and hateful she was.

  • trevor

    Putting up a fence isn’t too hard. We did that to keep people from walking through our front yard to get to a house behind our house. They used to trample over our garden too. If it keeps happening, put up a fence!

  • kc

    The home owner did NOT come out of the house and talk to those on her lawn. She never asked or told anyone to get offand no one argued with her about anything. She is lying!!! She admits to maliciously assaulting a crowd of people. There Were NOT 30 people on her lawn. There was a lot of people on the public parking strip, curb, and street.

  • JustMe

    Come on Fox 13 news…..really? This is not news, THIS IS GOSSIP. It doesn’t matter if the cop knew she was going to turn the sprinkler on. It’s her property. Ms. Biddle seems to understand that. Such a sweet lady.
    As for those from other areas than Riverdale, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Notice to future people coming into Riverdale to watch the parade, don’t walk on other’s property.
    I’m still shocked someone would do a news story, in a small town. Yes, small. 4.4 square miles. We have a night time population of about 8,300 residents and a daytime population of as many as 70,000 shoppers and travelers and to share in our 4th of July celebration. I, for one, get frustrated, but I love my town, and we have a right to protect our property from invaders from other areas. Riverdale is known for the best July 4 celebrations in the area and we share it with everybody. All we ask, is don’t bother us on our own property. Whoever was with this wonderful woman should be ashamed they can’t tell people to move so she can get through on the sidewalk.
    This is NOT news, this is gossip. SHAME ON YOU FOX 13.

  • mica1961

    I don’t know why my previous comment is under another name, but let me repeat…….

    Come on Fox 13 news…..really? This is not news, THIS IS GOSSIP. It doesn’t matter if the cop knew she was going to turn the sprinkler on. It’s her property. Ms. Biddle seems to understand that. Such a sweet lady.
    As for those from other areas than Riverdale, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Notice to future people coming into Riverdale to watch the parade, don’t walk on other’s property.
    I’m still shocked someone would do a news story, in a small town. Yes, small. 4.4 square miles. We have a night time population of about 8,300 residents and a daytime population of as many as 70,000 shoppers and travelers and to share in our 4th of July celebration. I, for one, get frustrated, but I love my town, and we have a right to protect our property from invaders from other areas. Riverdale is known for the best July 4 celebrations in the area and we share it with everybody. All we ask, is don’t bother us on our own property. Whoever was with this wonderful woman should be ashamed they can’t tell people to move so she can get through on the sidewalk.
    This is NOT news, this is gossip. SHAME ON YOU FOX 13.

  • mica1961

    The child was kicked in the head by a person. Did you even confront the person? This lady might be rude, inconsiderate, even nasty. Those things aren’t against the law. This is the equivalent of assaulting a child because the neighbors dog was barking. Your anger is misplaced.

  • Jab

    Why not fence the yard !!!!!! you know it’s been a issue in the past yet you cont to live there …..

  • Nathan2b

    I have been reading all the comments on this Article, and all I can say is I am glad that I don’t personally know some of the ignorant people that have been commenting on it, Such as Girl, Her ignorance explains why the youth of America all feel like they are entitled to treat the world as if owes them everything. Back when I was younger my mom would always take us to the parade and not once did we ever get treated like this lady treated people. You would see the families along the parade route out Selling bottles of water to people or drinks of some sort. Shame on this lady for turning her sprinklers on and then laughing about it. Turn about is fair play, if you don’t want people on your lawn post signs SIMPLE AS THAT

  • Jordan

    Couple of things I want to point out…
    1. The homeowner has posted signs, roped off the lawn, asked people to stay of her lawn, etc.. in the years past. It hasn’t mattered what she has done, people trample onto her lawn anyway, and leave behind a major mess she has to clean up. I can understand her frustration when people can’t simply be respectful of someone else’s property they are visiting. Sounds like this was her last resort. Would I do it? No, it’s still pretty rude, and laughing at everyone is, in my opinion, pretty heartless, but all you people who are suggesting other ways to keep people off her lawn aren’t be realistic. People have no respect for others property anymore.
    2. The officer wasn’t at that location because he knew he would see a good show and would think it was funny. Officers receive their location assignments by their supervisor and all of them are basically just placed an equal distance apart to cover the entire parade route. Did he maybe say he didn’t care that the lady turned on her water? Perhaps. But when you have a bunch of belligirent cry-babies in your face shouting that it’s 20 minutes past the water ORDINANCE (not a law, nobody can be fined or ticketed for an ordinance violation) cutoff, you might say the same thing. No officer can go and tell a home-owner to turn off their water. It’s not in their power. All you people who shout that cops overstep their powers now want them to be able to police watering? Make up your minds people. I’ve met this officer and he’s very kind, but maybe that is because I was kind to begin with. Most people take will take their cue on how to behave from how you start the conversation or argument and it sounds like this officer was getting some nasty attitude right from the start from people he could already see were vandalizing property. He talked to the owner, he told her several people didn’t appreciate the gesture, what else do you want?? Again, you want cops to back off and leave us all alone, but you want them to be involved in a sprinkler dispute? Bi-polar much?
    And 3. I can’t belive this is news. Yes, I’m probably keeping this going by commenting, but I honestly cannot belive how far our society has fallen that this is a priority and people are passionate enough to have started it in the first place. If I had been standing there and gotten wet, I would have felt a bit offended and disbelieving, and then maybe considered the homeowner was upset and maybe I should get off their property! And that’s it! This story tells me two things: People don’t want to take responsibility for what they may have done wrong.. and 2) police officers are the ones that still hold people accountable for their own actions, and that is why nobody likes them.

  • Hailey

    The home owner deserves a lot more than toilet paper in their yard. There is plenty of things they could have gone to prevent people from sitting on their lawn. And as what the officer said. Really? You should be fired

    • Shane

      Hmmm broke up my reply there but….. Fox 13 knows for a fact that the elderly lady stated she got a little sprinkle not drenched. I know the home owners first hand and oh my god this has gotten out of hand. Call a waaambulance because these people got wet. My gosh really. First rule that I was taught growing up in Roy/hooper stay the heck of people’s property period!!!!! These home owners have dealt with these disres

      • Shane

        Disrespectful people have been doing this for years! Garbage in their yard, their landscaping destroyed and god knows what else. We had to clean up the owners yard after the parade and my god people are absolute @&$””$&!). Fox 13 report the whole story not just what makes ratings!!!!!!

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