Driver in crash that killed 2 firefighters is in jail, could face charges


The driver of the truck involved in a crash that killed two firemen is being held in jail, pending formal charges against him.

The 28-year-old from Baraga, Michigan, was booked into Anoka County Jail Saturday, and is being held on a charge of felony criminal vehicular homicide in connection to the fatal crash, according to the jail roster. (BringMeTheNews does not typically name suspects until they have been formally charged.)

He was among 11 firefighters – all members of the Beartown Firefighters of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan – who were traveling in a caravan to assist in fighting a wildfire in Box Canyon, Utah, when the truck crashed in Blaine, Minnesota, according to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Facebook page.

The crash happened just after 3 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 35W near 95th Avenue. The Minnesota State Patrol says the truck left the roadway for an unknown reason, hit the median cable barriers and rolled.

Nine people were in the truck when it crashed, two of whom were pronounced dead at the scene. They have been identified as 25-year-old Alan Swartz and 23-year-old James Shelifoe, both of Baraga, Michigan.

Other firefighters were also injured, but their conditions have not been released, according to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, which called the crash "catastrophic."

The community said it is "devastated" and "our hearts go out to the families and those injured," noting there has been an outpouring of support for them.

Box Canyon fire

The Box Canyon fire started around 5 p.m. last Thursday in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, located east of Salt Lake City. The blaze his since grown to more than 4,000 acres, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's incident report page.

The fire was apparently started by an unattended campfire, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. As of Sunday afternoon, the blaze was 20 percent contained.

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