Gov. Snyder orders flags at half-staff for slain U.P. firefighters

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has called for flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of two Keewanaw firefighters killed in a truck crash in Minnesota.  The order is for both Michigan and U.S. flags to be lowered Wednesday and Thursday.

The slain firefighters were James Shelifoe Jr. and Alan Swartz of the Beartown Firefighters, who were part of a crew were on their way to help fight the Box Canyon wildfire in Utah.  Seven other firefighters were injured when their truck hit the median on Interstate 35W near Minneapolis.  The Beartown Firefighters, based out of Baraga in the Upper Peninsula near Keweenaw Bay, specialize in fighting wildfires.

A vehicle procession left a Minnesota funeral home Tuesday. Firefighters from Minnesota’s Fire Service Foundation were escorting the bodies back to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Michael Johnson, the driver of the vehicle, has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.  His request for a public defender was denied Tuesday.

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