ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A firefighter from Michigan was under arrest in Minnesota Monday on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide in a crash that killed two fellow firefighters and injured seven more as they drove to Utah to fight a wildfire.
Anoka County Jail records show the 28-year-old driver from Baraga, Michigan, was arrested after the crash Saturday afternoon on Interstate 35W in the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine. He has not been charged.
The online jail roster said the driver was being held on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide under a portion of state law covering operating a motor vehicle in a “grossly negligent manner.” The State Patrol and Anoka County attorney’s office have released no details about his role in the crash, but planned to issue a statement later Monday.
James Shelifoe, 23, and Alan Swartz, 25, both of Baraga, died in the crash. The driver was among the seven people injured. The State Patrol’s accident report says the truck left the highway, struck the median cable barriers and rolled.
The crew was from the Baraga-based Beartown Firefighters, which is managed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“Our hearts are broken and our prayers are with the family members and those injured,” the tribe said in a statement on its Facebook page Saturday night.
The tribal government said in a separate statement Sunday that the injured firefighters were expected to recover, but released no details about their conditions. It said 11 other firefighters were also en route to the Box Canyon fire. They were in a convoy but became separated from the truck that crashed.
“Those firefighters are understandably shaken and are getting much-needed support from local agencies,” it said.
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