Baraga Co. man arrested in crash that killed two U.P. firefighters

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28-year-old Michael Allen Johnson of Baraga has been arrested on Criminal Vehicular Homicide – Operate Motor Vehicle in Grossly Negligent Manner-F  after an accident in Minnesota that killed two of his fellow firefighters.  Johnson is being held in the Anoka County Jail awaiting arraignment.

Several others were injured when the fire truck Johnson was driving crashed Saturday on I-35W in Blaine, Minnesota.

A  total of 20 Baraga area firefighters – members of the Beartown Firefighters, a crew that specializes in fighting wildfires and is jointly managed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs – were en route Saturday to Utah to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire. 

They were traveling in a convoy when, according to Minnesota State Police, one truck  left the roadway…struck the median cable barriers, and rolled over.   The incident was reported at 3:08 p.m. on I-35W near 95th Avenue.

Alan J. Swartz, 25, and James F. Shelifoe, Jr., 23, were killed in the crash while several others were taken to hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Funeral arrangements for Swartz and Shelifoe have not yet been announced. The injured passengers are expected to recover.  Their specific injuries have not been released.  Counseling services are being provided through the KBIC. 

Several fundraising events are being held:

The L’Anse, Baraga, Arvon and Covington Fire Departments will be holding a “Fill The Boot” campaign Monday from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. to help with the Beartown Firefighters and their families.
—-In Baraga, they will be outside of Eagle Radio on US 41.
—-In L’Anse they will be in front of the Fire Hall.
—-The Arvon Fire Department will have a boot at The Finns.
—-The Covington Fire Department will have a boot at the Covington Steak House.

From from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Chassell Volunteer Fire Department will be holding a Fill the Boot Campaign at the Chassell Fire Hall for the Beartown Firefighters.

Beartown Firefighters spaghetti dinner fundraiser…Monday night from 5:30 p.m. -8 p.m. at the VFW in L’anse. 

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