Former Beartown Firefighter sentenced for fatal crash

Nov 10, 2017

ANOKA, MN--   A Baraga firefighter charged in the deaths of two people in a rollover crash in Minnesota has been sentenced. 

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson, 29, was part of a crew of Beartown Firefighters from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. He was driving in a convoy headed to Utah to fight a wildfire in August of 2016 when the truck hit the median on I35W and rolled.

James Shelifoe and Alan Swartz died in the crash. Seven others were injured.

Johnson told to police he used cocaine and marijuana in the two days before the accident. He said he fell asleep at the wheel.

Johnson was arraigned on 10 charges. He pleaded guilty in August to two counts of‘ criminal vehicular homicide—one including the use of a controlled substance—and one count of criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm. He was sentenced Thursday to 69 months for vehicular homicide involving a controlled substance, 57 months for the other homicide charge, and 39 months for criminal vehicular operation. The sentences will run concurrently.