10-year-old charged in infant's death

Leroy Wright
November 7, 2018

The driver accused in the hit-and-run deaths of three Wisconsin Girl Scouts and one of their mothers is expected to be formally charged Tuesday morning.

The unnamed girl was at her foster parents' home in Tilden when she allegedly dropped the baby boy on October 30, Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said in court Monday. The suspect is now being held in the Chippewa County Jail on four counts of homicide while intoxicated. Inside, dozens of families met with faith leaders and counselors, as they did at Southview.

Jayna Kelly, Autumn Helgeson, Haylee Hickle and her mother Sara Jo Schneider died. Police say he and his passenger, who is also in custody, said they'd been "huffing" or inhaling vapors from an aerosol cleaner before the crash, something prosecutors had argued in court.

After interviewing an adult and three children at the center, the girl, who the newspaper declined to identify by name because of her age, was arrested.

But Treu later claimed to investigators that the argument over the steering wheel is what caused him to lose control and fishtail into the ditch, hitting the Girl Scouts.

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"The driver appeared to be somewhat out of it", the district attorney said.

A fourth girl, 10, was injured as the group was participating in a highway cleanup project. She reportedly told investigators she didn't want to get into trouble.

"And you usually start crying", Brian Kelley said. When the two on duty Lake Hallie Officers arrived on scene, they learned that a black pickup truck struck 5 pedestrians and fled the scene.

Colten Treu, 21, of Chippewa Falls is charged with four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle while having a prior intoxicant-related conviction, four counts of hit-and-run resulting in death, one count of hit-and-run resulting in great bodily harm, one count of felony bail jumping and one count of intentional abuse of a hazardous substance. He surrendered to authorities Saturday.

Treu was previously convicted of drunken-driving in Wisconsin and he was now out on bail for another accident in September, when he was charged with driving his employer's vehicle into a ditch while intoxicated.

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