Suspect in Wisconsin crash killing 4 to appear in court

By Sommer Brokaw

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Wisconsin driver suspected of killing four people, including three Girl Scouts and a mother in a hit-and-run crash, is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

The suspect identified as Colten Treu, 21, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, reportedly fled the scene of the crash Saturday, but later turned himself into police.


Treu admitted to inhaling chemical vapors, commonly called "huffing," before the crash into a ditch where the Girl Scout Troop # 3055, which consisted of 12 people, five adults and seven children, in safety vests, was picking up trash for a highway cleanup project, a Lake Hallie Police statement said.

The statement identified the victims as Jayna S. Kelley, 9, of Lake Hallie, Autum A. Hegelson, 10, of Lake Hallie, Haylee J. Hickle, 10, and her mother Sara Jo Schneider, 32, of the Town of Lafayette.

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Another 10-year-old girl was hospitalized for critical injuries and is now reportedly in stable condition, the statement said.

Chippewa Country Court Judge James Isaacson ordered Monday that Treu be held on $250,000 cash bond and return to court Tuesday to face charges.

District Attorney Wade Newell said charges he intends to file Tuesday include four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, four counts of negligent operation of a vehicle, four counts of hit-and-run, causing death, and a count of hit-and-run, causing serious injury.

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A passenger in Treu's Ford-150 truck that crashed into the ditch Saturday has also turned himself into police, admitting to huffing as well, but the passenger has not been identified and Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Jowalczyk said he did not know if the passenger would also be charged.

Judy Schneider, whose daughter and granddaughter died, spoke with KSTP-TV.

"They needed to be together," Schneider said. "It's our loss. We are hit double, but it needed to be that way. I think God knew that."

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Hundreds of people in the community of Chippewa Falls gathered together Sunday evening at Halmstad Elementary to remember the lives of the victims.

"Our hearts are broken," said Sheri Jasper, board member of the Girl Scouts Northwestern Great Lakes. "When we weep, we all weep together."

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