DANE COUNTY — A man charged in connection with a New Year’s Eve crash near Monona that killed an off-duty Lake Mills fire captain made his initial appearance in court on Thursday, March 7 after formal charges were filed on Wednesday.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 27.
Samuel Cremers, 28, faces one count of knowingly operating while suspended, causing death — not homicide by drunken driving. Cremers also received a traffic forfeiture for refusing to take a test for intoxication after arrest.
Cremers was in court on Jan. 3 for a bail/bond hearing. Signature bond was set at $5,000 per case. Conditions of that signature bond included alcohol monitoring. It was ordered that Cremers do not consume alcohol, operate a vehicle or visit any bar, tavern or liquor store.
Captain Christopher Truman, 46, died at the hospital after the crash that happened on the eastbound side of the Beltline near Monona Drive. Captain Truman, who was off duty, was assisting at the scene of a crash that involved a vehicle that spun out — injuring two people, who were both taken to the hospital.
Truman was a firefighter for 13 years. The last eight years, he as a captain with the Lake Mills Fire Department. Before that, he worked for the Cambridge Fire Department.
Court documents showed Cremers had a blood alcohol content of .079, under the legal limit (.08). According to investigators, he told an officer at the scene that he had two beers. The court commissioner during his Jan. 3 bail/bond hearing said it was an hearing because cases that involve homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle usually include a pretty substantial cash bail. The commissioner said that since there was no formal charge filed against Cremers, his hands were tied and that made the bail and conditions requested reasonable.
Attorneys representing Cremers said that weather conditions were extremely poor at the time of the crash.