ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– In the middle of a busy intersection in northwest Denver last December, Eric Traugutt met a man he says changed his life.
“He made the situation more comfortable,” Eric said. “He was so kind.”
That man was Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm. He was called to help Eric when he was stranded near 72nd and Pecos. Eric was towing a U-Haul when one of the wheels broke, sending pieces flying into a nearby fence.
“He took control of the situation,” Eric explained to CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Eric said an Adams County sergeant directed traffic as Deputy Gumm held the trailer’s broken wheel in place as Eric slowly drove out of harm’s way.
“He was literally sacrificing himself because if that U-Haul had tipped over while I was driving he could’ve endangered himself,” Eric said.
The selfless actions of Deputy Gumm and the sergeant compelled Eric’s mom to write a letter to the sheriff.
“They just went above and beyond,” Michelle Traugutt said. “I was raised to have respect for law enforcement and I think that’s missing now. It’s clear they put their lives on the line for us.”
Michelle said her letter was intended to share a positive message about law enforcement during a time when there is so much hostility.
Now, her words of gratitude have new meaning for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office as they grieve the loss of a great deputy, the same deputy who went above and beyond for Eric.
“I feel like if more police were like Deputy Gumm it would be better for the community,” Eric said.
Donations for Gumm’s family can be made on the Adams County Sheriff’s Foundation website. The family also asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation.
The Colorado Police Officers Foundation also set up a fundraiser for his family.
Information about a memorial service will be placed at a later date at adamssheriff.org.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.