Firefighter facing additional charges from fatal accident

ANOKA COUNTY, MN — An Upper Peninsula firefighter who is being held responsible for the deaths of two of his fellow firefighters is now facing additional charges.

Micheal Allen Johnson of Baraga is said to be the man behind the wheel on August 27th, 2016, when the Beartown Fire Department bus he was driving suddenly struck the median, killing Alan Schwartz, 25, and James Shelifoe Jr., 23. Six other passengers on the bus were injured in the accident that occurred on I-35 West in Blaine, Minnesota.

Johnson, 28, originally faced two charges of criminal vehicular homicide. Now, the Baraga man is facing ten felony counts.

Eight charges were recently added after his toxicology report was returned and reviewed by the Anoka County Prosecutor’s Office. The toxicology report revealed that Johnson had cocaine and benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in his system.

Johnson admitted to authorities that he used cocaine three days before the crash. In addition to the two original counts, Johnson is now charged with two counts of criminal vehicular homicide – negligence, with a schedule one or two controlled substance present.

Each of those charges a ten-year felony. He also faces six counts of operating a vehicle causing great bodily harm with a schedule controlled substance present. Each charge carries with it a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

Johnson is next due in court on April 4th, 2017.