The Michigan Firefighter driving the rig on Saturday is being charged with criminal vehicular homicide in that crash that killed two of his fellow Firefighters and injured several others on Interstate 35W in Blaine, Minn. As you know, the firefighters were on their way to the Box Canyon Fire in Utah.
The crash happened around 1500 hours on I-35W when the truck carrying the firefighters drifted off the right shoulder, struck the median cable barriers and rolled.
The Firefighter driving, identified as Michael Allen Johnson, 28, of Baraga, Mich. told cops that he believed he fell asleep behind the wheel and woke up to one of the Firefighters yelling at him as the truck veered off the road.
He attempted to gain control of the vehicle, but it crashed into the median barrier.
Firefighter Johnson told cops he had been awake for nearly 28 hours when the crash occurred. He also admitted to smoking marijuana that morning and doing cocaine two days earlier.
Cops stated that Johnson appeared impaired and was acting combative at the scene of the accident.
23-year-old James “Kimmy” Shelifoe Jr. and 25-year-old Alan “AJ” Swartz, both of Baraga, were killed in the Line of Duty. The other 5 Firefighters were taken to local hospitals, but all are expected to recover.
They were part of a 3 fire vehicle convoy responding from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Utah to help fight the Box Canyon Fire. They were members of the Beartown Firefighting Crew in Baraga, Mich.
Firefighter Johnson is charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide for gross negligence. He will make his first court appearance in Anoka County on Tuesday morning.