The driver of a firetruck that crashed Saturday on Interstate 35W in Blaine, killing two firefighters, has been arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide for his role in the incident.
Micheal Allen Johnson, 28, was among nine Baraga, Mich., firefighters going to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire in Utah when the truck “left the roadway for an unknown reason, struck the median cable barriers, and rolled” at 3:08 p.m., according to the State Patrol’s statement. The crash closed the freeway near 95th Avenue for the afternoon.
Alan Swartz, 25, and James Shelifoe, 23, were killed. The status of the other passengers has not been released, but they were taken to various Twin Cities hospitals.
Johnson was wearing his seat belt, according to the State Patrol. Whether alcohol was in his system isn’t known. He is held in Anoka County jail.
The passengers were 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.
A statement posted by Keweenaw Bay Saturday said, “Our hearts are broken and our prayers are with the family members and those injured.”