Fire trucks escort captain’s body home

January 4, 2019

LAKE MILLS -- Chris Truman’s body was brought back to Lake Mills Wednesday in a procession of fire trucks from all over the area in preparation for weekend funeral services.

Truman is the 46-year-old Lake Mills Fire Department captain who was killed by a suspected drunk driver while helping a stranded motorist on the Beltline New Year’s Eve. His family says he was a true helper to all who knew him and even those who didn’t.

“He was an amazing man who would go out of his way for anyone. He loved what he did, and he wouldn’t regret getting out of that car,” said his fiancé Amber Turfle. “Whoever was in that car shouldn’t blame themselves. He would have done it no matter what.”

Truman’s life was the Lake Mills Fire Department, she said, and he was always ready to help someone in need.

“I would always ask him why he needs to stop, there are people coming. He would say that’s just who I am, it’s what I do. I’m sorry honey, I just have to stop.”

He always told her to stay in the vehicle for safety.

“He was a very loving and caring man.”

The pair met while Amber was working at Kwik Trip.

“He would come in to get his coffee before his fishing trips and over time we would just start to talk,” she said. “Come to find out he was coming in and just buying milk, so he could come in and see me.”

They’ve been together for 10 years. A number of years ago Truman proposed with the promise of a finished basement, so they could move in together with her children, instead of a ring.

Amber said her fiancé had no tolerance for drunk drivers.

“Why would you get in the car when you are drinking, especially when the weather was that bad?”

“There are so many things you can do to prevent this,” she said. “Although he died for a great reason, I just want him back. This pain is going to last forever.”

A hole has been left in their family and in the community.

“Just double think your decisions,” she said.

She said the community support and love her family has received has been overwhelming.

“I appreciate all the love I’ve been receiving.”

The couple’s closest friends are members of the police and fire departments in Lake Mills. On the night of the incident that killed Truman the couple was planning to go to a gathering of friends at Police Chief Mick Selck’s home to play games for the New Year. She said she was notified of Truman’s passing by Selck and the group of friends waiting for them.

“That group of friends came over to my house and told me.”

Turfle said Truman told her he wanted to be remembered as a hero.

“He got his wish. It’s not that he did the good that he did to be a hero. That’s just who he was. He just wanted to know it was appreciated and noticed.”

If she could speak to him again she said she would tell him she loves him.

“I love you,” she said to Chris. “I want you back so bad. You were my soulmate and I will never find anyone as good as you.”

Turfle said Truman would want the community to do like he did.

“Pay it forward whenever you can,” she said. “Be kind. Help when you can. If you see someone who needs something, just help them and always have a smile on your face. And make it a good day. He always said that.”

Truman leaves behind Turfle and her children Damien, Lilly and Taylor.

A visitation for Truman will be held Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Lake Mills High School. Emergency services, including Truman’s fellow firefighters, will conduct their salute at 5 p.m. A second visitation will be Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the high school. A funeral service will follow at 3 p.m.

Samuel Cremers, 28, of Columbus, is expected to be formally charged in Dane County Court this afternoon in connection with the crash that killed Truman. He was arrested by Monona police on tentative charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle after crashing into Truman on the Beltline at the Yahara River bridge. No other drunk driving violations appear on Cremers’ record. If convicted of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, Cremers could face 25 years in prison.

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