Minn. officials detail traffic crash injuries

ANOKA, Minnesota — The Anoka County Attorney’s Office released a statement of probable cause updating injuries suffered by six firefighters in an August traffic accident in Minnesota.

The statement is part of the prosecuting attorney’s charges against Michael Allen Johnson, the driver of a Beartown Firefighers truck involved in a fatal accident that claimed the lives of two of their own: 23-year-old James Shelifoe and Alan Swartz, 25.

The statement says Shelifoe was located inside the box and pronounced dead at the scene, while Swartz was transported to Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The Aug. 27, 2016, accident in Minnesota resulted in the cab and box separating, exposing everyone to serious injury.

Beartown firefighters Joseph A. Jossens, David R. Varline, Ross J. Jaukkuri, Gavin C. Loonsfoot, Shashywin D. Sandman-Shelifoe and Tyler J. Tolonen were injured in the accident.

According to the statement, Jossens had been seated in the box of the truck and was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center after the crash. He was unresponsive upon admission to the hospital and identified as critically ill, requiring airway and gastric intubation. Diagnosed with a severe brain injury and multiple fractures, including a fractured jaw that was wired shut and repaired in surgery at the end of August.

Varline was a passenger in the box of the truck and was transported to Unity Hospital, then Mercy Hospital where he remained until Aug. 29. Medical records confirm Varline suffered two rib fractures and five transverse process fractures to his vertebrae. He also required three sutures for a laceration to his shin and seven staples to a laceration to the back of his head.

Loonsfoot was a passenger in the box of the truck and was transported to Mercy Hospital after the crash. He was diagnosed with fractures to his scapula, pelvic area and two ribs. Staples were used to close a 9-centimeter laceration to his knee.

Jaukkuri was the front seat passenger in the cab of the truck. He was transported to Mercy Hospital, where he was diagnosed with two rib fractures and a fractured right foot.

Sandman-Shelifoe was a passenger in the box of the truck and was transported to Mercy Hospital, where he was diagnosed with two rib fractures and a pulmonary contusion.

Tolonen was a passenger in the box of the truck and was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center, diagnosed with a transverse process fracture to his vertebrae and a traumatic brain injury..

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