'He is my hero:' Lake Mills fire captain was helping girl when driver slammed into him

Christopher Truman

LAKE MILLS -- The Lake Mills community is mourning the loss of a volunteer firefighter. Christopher Truman, 46, was killed while off-duty on New Year's Eve -- as he worked to help a young driver in need.

A procession followed Truman's body to a funeral home in Lake Mills on Wednesday, Jan. 2, as those who knew and loved him reflected on his life.

"Compassion was the big deal with Chris. He cared about everybody. He was just that type of individual. He was doing what he's done for 13 years, in a different role. Ultimately, he died doing what he loved and that was to help somebody in need," said Rick Heinz, former Lake Mills fire chief.

Captain Chris Truman stopped to help a driver on Highway 12 eastbound near the bridge over the Yahara River in Monona. While doing so, he was struck by a suspected impaired driver. Truman died at the hospital. The New Year's Eve crash backed up traffic for hours.

"He was a good man," said Chief Mick Selck, Lake Mills Police Department.

Mick Selck

The person Truman helped that day was a young girl, according to a Facebook post from the department. The family shared that Captain Truman saw the girl pulled over --out of her car. He told her to get back in and that he'd follow her to safety when a driver slammed into him.

In tears, Truman's fiancee, Amber Turfle, said Wednesday "this pain is going to last forever."

Amber Turfle, Chris Truman

"He once said to me 'honey, I want to be remembered as a hero,' and he got his wish. He loved what he did. He wouldn't regret ever getting out of that car. It's not that he did what he did so he could be a hero. That's just who he was, but he just wanted to know that it was appreciated and noticed," said Tufle.

Todd Yandre

"He was doing what he's done for 13 years in a different role, and ultimately died doing what he loved and that was to help somebody in need," said Lake Mills Acting Fire Chief Todd Yandre.

The girl's family said, "My heart is in so much pain for all of you. He is my hero... I'm just so very sorry."

Police arrested Samuel Cremers in connection to Truman's death.

Samuel Cremers

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for Captain Truman are as follows:

Saturday, Jan. 5:
Visitation at the Claussen Funeral Home
3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Emergency services fly-by at 5 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 6:
Visitation at Lake Mills High School
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Service at 3 p.m.