Sherri Jasper, a Girl Scout board member and counselor at Halmstad Elementary School, leads the program for a candlelight vigil at the school in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Sunday evening, Nov. 4, 2018. The western Wisconsin community on Sunday was grieving the deaths of three Girl Scouts and a parent who were collecting trash Saturday along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. The 21-year-old driver, Colten Treu of Chippewa Falls, sped off but later surrendered. He will be charged with four counts of homicide, Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

Wisconsin hit-and-run kills three Girl Scouts and chaperone; driver tells police he was "huffing"

Hundreds attend candlelight vigil in Chippewa Falls, victims ID'ed

November 04, 2018 - 7:15 am

   LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (AP) - Records indicte the man who drove a pickup truck into a group of Girl Scouts on Saturday, killing three girls and an adult, was impaired when the crash occurred.

   Sgt. Daniel Sokup of the Lake Hallie Police Department said the driver of the black Ford F-150 pickup truck fled the scene but later turned himself in. He identified the driver as Colton Treu, 21, of Chippewa, Falls, Wisconsin.

   According to Lake Hallie police, Treu told authorities that the crash happened after he and a passenger in his pickup had intentionally inhaled chemical vapors. The practice is commonly known as "huffing."

   Treu is expected to be charged with four counts of homicide through driving a vehicle while intoxicated, according to records at the Chippewa County jail. He's been in custody since turning himself in hours after fleeing the scene. 


Colten Treu mug shot
Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office, Chippewa Falls, Wisc.

   Sokup said the crash happened before a hill and there were no blind spots.

   Authorities have identified the victims.

   Lake Hallie police say 9-year-old Jayna Kelley and 10-year-old Autum Helgeson, both of Lake Hallie, were killed in the Saturday morning collision. Ten-year-old Haylee Hickle and her 32-year-old mother, Sara Jo Schneider, from the Town of Lafayette, were also killed.

   Authorities say another 10-year-old Girl Scout who was injured, but not identified, is hospitalized in stable condition.

   Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night in Chippewa Falls at the elementary school where some of the victims attended. 

   The names of the three girls and the adult who were killed are expected to be released on Monday.

   "The area is not an unsafe area," he said. Sokup said it was not immediately known if there were other factors that might have led the driver to leave the road.

   The crash happened late Saturday morning as the girls were picking up litter in a ditch in Lake Hallie, a town about 95 miles (153 kilometers) east of Minneapolis. The pickup was heading north and crossed over a lane and went into the ditch, striking the group.

   The girls were in the fourth grade at Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The Girl Scouts were all wearing bright safety vests and were accompanied by several adults.

   Two of the girls and the woman were pronounced dead at the scene. A third Girl Scout was transported to a hospital where she later died, Sokup said. The fourth girl was transported to a hospital in critical condition.