Update: MN bridge to be repaired after being set on fire

Ryan Johnson, 43, is accused of setting a bridge in Otter Tail County up in flames.
Ryan Johnson, 43, is accused of setting a bridge in Otter Tail County up in flames.(KVLY)
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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OTTER TAIL COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) -

Update 4/1/2022: Construction to rebuild the bridge is set to start on Monday, April 4th. The County Highway 41 bridge at Star Lake was set on fire in September 2020. Ryan Johnson was convicted for the crime and was sentenced to five years in prison with credit for time served, 10 years supervised probation, and he agreed to pay more than a million dollars in restitution.

Original story 11/9/2020: A man who reportedly burned a Minnesota bridge was formally charged Wednesday.

Ryan Johnson, 43, of Mapleton, North Dakota was arrested over the weekend for arson for reportedly setting fire to the Star Lake Bridge along highway 41 in Otter Tail County.

In Otter Tail County District Court, prosecutors charged Johnson with possession of ammunition/firearm by a convicted felon, second degree arson, and possession of explosion/incendiary device.

According to court documents, Johnson was in the process of going through a divorce and was acting erratic.

He reportedly had a house near the bridge in Dent.

Investigators said Johnson told a neighbor he was going to blow up the bridge after someone ran over and killed his dog.

Johnson even texted his wife the morning after the fire that “I bet it was someone that is really mad about my dog getting run over,” according to court documents.

Investigators said matches, ammunition, a single shot shotgun, and drugs were found inside his home.

Under the bridge, authorities allegedly located several propane cylinders.

Johnson is scheduled to appear before a judge on September 22, according to court records.

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