Vandals stall watermelon buses


EAU CLAIRE-Marc Kerlikowske, of Kerlikowske farms, is floored after what happened on his farm's watermelon distribution plant early Wednesday morning.

When he got into work he noticed the keys were missing from all twenty three of the school buses the farm uses to transport watermelons.


Kerlikowske and his employees got spares and started them up. "When we started them up we realized there were problems with the brakes," says Kerlikowske. They found the hydraulic brake lines were cut on all the buses.


It couldn't have been at a worse time. "Every day we wait it's getting closer to frost and you want to get them at their prime which is right now," Kerlikowske said. The buses are getting fixed but watermelons are still just sitting.


Kerlikowske says it could have been worse. "You wouldn't have an alarm go off or a buzzer until you were to lose pressure and that would be when you push the pedal to stop," he said. If they didn't check the brake lines before the buses left, it wouldn't have just been money or watermelons lost.


"You wouldn't have had any brakes. Somebody could have easily died yesterday."


Some of the buses are up and running again but they are waiting on parts for others. It'll cost the farm five thousand dollars a day to keep the buses idle.


Eau Claire Police say they believe more than one person committed the vandalism. Anyone with information is asked to call (269) 461-4111.

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