Driver Arrested in Connection to Wisconsin Crash that Killed 3 Girl Scouts, 1 Parent Makes First Court Appearance

November 05, 2018 07:30 PM

The driver accused of hitting a group of girl scouts in Chippewa County, Wisconsin, killing four people and injuring one, made his first court appearance Monday morning.   

Twenty-one-year-old Colten Treu was in a Chippewa County courtroom for his bond hearing. He is being held in jail on a $250,000 bond.

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Treu could face four counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, four counts of 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.

The district attorney says Treu and a friend bought an air duster from Wal-Mart Saturday morning and were huffing it in the car when the friend realized Treu wasn't driving straight.

"He grabbed the steering wheel, noticing the driver appeared to be somewhat out of it and corrected the vehicle back into that lane," the district attorney said in court. "The defendant, once he became aware of the situation, got into an argument, going off the roadway and striking the victims."


More from KSTP:

Officials: Driver was Huffing before Wisconsin Crash that Killed 3 Girl Scouts, 1 Parent

Wisconsin Community Mourns After Girl Scouts, Mother Killed in Crash

1 Woman, 3 Girl Scouts Killed after Being Struck by Vehicle


5 EYEWITNESS NEWS learned this is not Treu's first run-in with the law.

He had his license taken away for six months on a drunk driving charge in 2014, was cited for underage drinking in 2015 and was just arrested in September for driving with a controlled substance in Rusk County, Wisconsin.

According to court records for that incident, Treu crashed his vehicle in a ditch and left the scene.

Police later found drugs inside the vehicle

He was let out of jail on a $500 bond.

Treu has not been charged in that incident, but the case has been turned over to the district attorney who told us she is waiting on the results of a blood test.

Just a few weeks later, he is now the suspect in another crash.

"I can't turn back the hands of time," Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk said. "But again, this has been very hard not only on Chippewa County, but on law enforcement, EMS and fire." 

The passenger in his truck also turned himself in to police and is considered a witness at this time.

The four victims are 9-year-old Jayna Kelly, 10-year-old Autumn Helgeson, 10-year-old Haylee Hickle, and Haylee's mother Sara Jo Schneider. 

Judy Schneider lost her daughter and granddaughter in the accident. 

"The world has really lost something," Schneider told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "They needed to be together. It's our loss we're hit doubly but it needed to be that way I think God knew that."

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Alex Jokich

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