Driver charged in Minnesota crash that killed 2 firefighters

Driver charged in Minnesota crash that killed 2 firefighters

Driver charged in Minnesota crash that killed 2 firefighters

A MI man was charged Monday in connection with the crash that killed two of his fellow firefighters on Saturday.

The crash occurred at 3:08 p.m., according to the Minnesota State Patrol, when the southbound track left the roadway near 95th Ave.in Blaine and struck the median barriers, rolling over.

Michael Johnson, 28, of Baraga, is now in the Anoka County Jail after crashing a truck that killed 25-year-old Alan J. Swartz of Baraga, and 23-year-old James F. Shelifoe of Baraga, and also injured several others.

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James Shelifoe, 23, and Alan Swartz, 25, both of Baraga, died in the crash.

The truck bore the logo of the Beartown Firefighters, a wildland firefighting crew based in Baraga, Mich., managed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They were headed to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire in Utah.

The Keweeknaw Bay Indian Community says the deceased firefighters will return home to MI on Tuesday.

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According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement noted Johnson had signs of "impairment and combative behavior". He provided a blood sample to authorities.

Witnesses on I-35W said they saw all three trucks traveling 80 to 90 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone. The State Patrol and Anoka County attorney's office have released no details about his role in the crash, but planned to issue a statement later Monday. His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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