Wisconsin Girl Scouts, 1 adult killed in hit-and-run crash

Glen Norman
November 5, 2018

- Police in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin have identified the suspect in a fatal hit and run that killed three girls and one woman while they were picking up trash on the side of a road Saturday morning.

Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said Saturday that Treu's black Ford F-150 crossed a lane Saturday morning and veered into a roadside ditch, striking the victims. Police identified him as Colton Treu, 21, of Chippewa Falls. The Chippewa County Sheriff's Office said that authorities are pursuing charges that would include four counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, four counts homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, four counts of hit-and-run involving death, and one count of hit-and-run involving great bodily harm.

Girl Scouts sing as hundreds of community members turn out in the rain Sunday evening, November 4, 2018, for a candlelight vigil at Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

The victims were struck Saturday morning while picking up trash along a rural road in Lake Hallie, 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Minneapolis and just south of Chippewa Falls. A fourth girl survived but was in critical condition Saturday night at a Minnesota hospital.

Two small groups of Girl Scouts and their adult chaperones wore bright green safety vests Saturday as they walked along both sides of County Highway P, which they had adopted as a community service project. Both men made statements to police in which they admitted to "huffing" chemicals prior to the accident.

Eliopoulos says it's a "difficult time for our students, families and staff", and that the district will provide support "for as long as needed". The driver, Colten Treu, sped away, but later surrendered to authorities. The two-ton pickup slammed into the Scouts, visiting tragedy on the town of 14,000 before speeding off. A third girl was rushed to the hospital and died there.

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., on Sunday evening.

Pastor Jim Woldhuis says the mother and daughter who died attended Chippewa Valley Bible Church, where he presides.

"Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes asks that you please keep the Nokomis Service Area volunteers and families in your thoughts and prayers as they grapple with this senseless loss", the organization said in a statement. His passenger in the vehicle also turned himself in.

The Lake Hallie Police Department extends it's deepest sympathies to the families involved. An investigation and search for the vehicle is underway. Emergency helicopters were also flown in to assist.

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