Charges stem from death of firefighter

January 5, 2019

A man accused of killing an off-duty firefighter while driving drunk New Year’s Eve was released from the Dane County Jail on a $5,000 signature bond.

Samuel P. Cremers, 28, of Dodgeville, made his initial appearance in Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Cremers was arrested Monday by Monona police on tentative charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle after driving into Lake Mills Fire Department Capt. Chris Truman.

As a condition of his release, Cremers is subject to remote alcohol monitoring, cannot consume alcohol, shall not operate a motor vehicle and not be in any bar, tavern, liquor store of other premises whose primary purpose is the sale or service of alcohol.

Cremers’ next court appearance is set for March 7.

According to the Monona Police Department, a woman lost control of her vehicle on eastbound state Highway 12 on the Yahara River bridge just before 7 p.m.

The woman had exited her vehicle when Truman saw she needed assistance and pulled up behind the vehicle, with his emergency lights flashing.

“She was against the wall perpendicular to the road with the front of the vehicle facing north and the back of the car extending into lane one,” said Ryan Losby, a detective with the Monona Police Department.

Truman parked his vehicle in the first lane of traffic. He told the woman to get back into her vehicle, which she did.

As police were en route to respond to the first accident, the second one occurred.

“The suspect’s vehicle swerved from lane one into the emergency lane and struck the firefighter and the vehicle at the same time,” Losby said. “Field sobriety tests were done, a PBT test (breathalyzer) was done, and a blood draw was done. We can’t use the PBT in court, so we aren’t releasing that. We are waiting for the results of the blood draw.”

The female driver, her passenger and Truman were taken to hospitals, and Truman, 46, died shortly after arrival. Officials with the Dane County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Truman died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The names and conditions of the female driver and passenger are not being released by police.

“Their injuries are non-life threatening, and so far, it’s not looking like there will be long-term injuries, but that could change for both patients,” Losby said.

Two Monona police squads were on scene, with mutual aid from McFarland police. Three ambulances, with one from Monona and two from Madison, transported the victims to hospitals. A Wisconsin State patrol accident reconstructionist was also on scene.

The road was closed for about four hours as police investigated.

Gov. Scott Walker today ordered flags to half-staff Jan. 6 in respect for Truman.

Update hourly