UPDATE: Driver smoked marijuana hours before crash

UPDATE: Driver smoked marijuana hours before crash

UPDATE — 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 29, 2016

New details have been released in connection to the accident that killed two members of the Beartown Fire Department Saturday in Blaine, Minn.

Michael Johnson, 28, of Baraga, was arraigned Monday on two counts of criminal vehicular homicide; gross negligence.

Police say Johnson was behind the wheel Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on I-35 West, when the truck hit the median and rolled. Two Baraga men- 25-year-old Alan Schwartz and 23-year-old James Shelifoe Jr., died in the crash.

In a statement to police, Johnson said he fell asleep while driving, after only sleeping 45 minutes the previous 24 hours. Johnson added he used marijuana earlier in the day and cocaine two days prior to that.

Johnson is due back in court for his next hearing on Tuesday, August 30.


ANOKA COUNTY, MINN. — The driver of the truck from the Beartown Fire Department that crashed and killed two people Saturday afternoon in Blaine, Minn. has been arrested.

According to records from the Anoka County Jail, Michael Allen Johnson, 28, of Baraga, is facing a charge of criminal vehicular homicide – operating a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.

Police say Johnson was behind the wheel Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on I-35W, when the truck hit the median and rolled. Two Baraga men- Alan Swartz, 25, and James Shelifoe Jr., 23, died in the crash.

Seven other firefighters were injured in the accident. The firefighters were headed to Utah to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire.

The Beartown Fire Department is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.