LAKE MILLS (WKOW) — The Lake Mills Fire Department announced Tuesday that one of its own, Captain Chris Truman, died Monday night while helping a distressed driver after a crash on the Beltline outside Monona.
Truman was 46.
Hours later, social media flooded with support from fellow anglers, coworkers and community members describing the 13-year firefighter as a public servant, an avid angler and a wonderful friend.
One of the first groups to speak up was the Wisconsin Bass Federation. Chris Truman has been a member of the C&R Bass Anglers club in Watertown for years. Dave Van Ert said he’s been fishing alongside Truman for the past three.
“He always had a smile on his face,” Van Ert said. “He was always in a good mood. Just a pleasure to be around.”
Van Ert said Truman didn’t just share his love for the sport with him but bonded with Van Ert’s son as well.
“He tried to help him, you know learn and get better at the sport,” he said. “He had quite an effect on our family.”
The Wisconsin Bass Federation posted Tuesday evening that it would honor Truman, who represented the state last year in competition throughout 2019.
According to Monona police, Truman pulled over Monday evening to help someone who had crashed on the Beltline. As he was helping the other crash victim, he was hit by a suspected drunk driver and later died at the hospital.
The City of Lake Mills said he was off duty at the time and chose to help as a good Samaritan.
“It really was his nature, you know to be helpful,” Van Ert said. “People might say that was his training. I know he was a firefighter and had paramedic training but that’s the way Chris was.”
Van Ert said he believes that kind and serving nature is the reason this death is affecting so many.
“He just friended a lot of people in a short amount of time,” he said.
According to the Lake Mills Fire Department, funeral arrangements are underway. The agency will share them publicly,
The department posted this message Tuesday night:
A note from the family that Captain Truman was helping on the Beltline at the time of the incident shared with their permission:
“I know that all of you are grieving. I don’t know if this will help but your captain saved my daughter’s life last night. My daughter had lost control of the car and skidded. She got out of her car and was afraid and overwhelmed. He saw her and pulled behind her with his lights on. He came out of his car and told her to get back into her car. He pulled the bumper that was hanging off and then went to her window and told her he would follow her off the Beltline to safety. It was at this point that the driver hit him. My heart is in so much pain for all of you. He is my hero. Please let his wife/family know he is forever our angel. I’m just so very sorry.”