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Fiancée of fallen fire captain says there’s little justice in his death

LAKE MILLS (WKOW) — It was an emotional weekend for family and friends of Captain Chris Truman. On Thursday they learned the man who hit and killed the Lake Mills fire captain would receive no prison time then days later firefighters across the country honored Truman alongside other fallen heroes.

Truman was hit and killed on New Year’s Eve after he stopped to help a distressed motorist on the side of the beltline.

Truman’s fiancée, Amber Turfle, said the past ten months have come with spouts of loneliness and grief.

“Some days I feel like I can do this and I’m moving forward and you know I have bad days and I go backwards for a week or two,” she said. “It’s a roller coaster.”

This weekend, she said was a big step forward.

“It just felt really good to be out there with people who have gone or are going through the same thing that we are,” she said.

Turfle traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland, for the National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial, joining families from across the country in honoring fellow firefighters who died in the line of duty.

“Just being able to share our thoughts and feelings has really helped a lot,” she said.

The two day ceremony came just on the heels Samuel Cremers’ final sentence.

Twenty-eight-year-old Cremers, of Columbus, plead no contest to driving with a suspended license when he hit Truman but in this case it was a fine not a felony.

According to Assistant District Attorney William Brown that’s because the state couldn’t prove Cremers knew his license was suspended when he hit and killed Truman.

He explained his reasoning in a letter to Judge Ellen Berz.

“This is not a good or perfect result,” Williams wrote. “Unfortunately, this is the only result possible and represents what the State could prove at trial.”

To Turfle, it’s not justice.

“Several of us are pretty disappointed in the outcome,” she said. “Sorry no. All he got was a ticket.”

She said she believes the state did everything that they could but there was no way to find justice in this case.

Instead, Turfle said she wants to focus on finding peace alongside others who understand what she’s going through.

This weekend she said she met Abby Barr, whose husband Cory was killed in the explosion in Sun Prairie in July of 2018.

“I think we made lifelong friends there so we’re going to be there to support each other the rest of the way,” Turfle said.

She said she’s already seeing the man she lost shining through that support.

“There was little signs that he was with us. I always feel him with me,” she said. “One of Abby’s daughters started talking to me about fishing just out of the blue and that to me was Chris.”

Turfle said she plans to keep those memories company whenever the loneliness of grief returns.

“Chris will always be with me no matter what,” she said. “It’s just one day at time.”

According to Cremers’ attorney Shaun O’Connell his client has been devastated since the crash, even though it was unintentional.

“Mr. Cremers recognizes that Captain Truman died a hero, protecting those in need,” O’Connell said. “He wishes Captain Truman’s family, friends, and loved ones peace and healing.”

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Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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