'She Loved People': Parents Remember Girl Scout Killed by Huffing Driver

November 06, 2018 07:09 PM

The man accused of killing three Girl Scouts and a parent as they picked up trash along the side of the road in Chippewa County, Wisconsin is now charged in their deaths.

Colten Treu is charged with 11 counts, including homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and hit and run causing death.

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The 21-year-old had nothing to say in court Tuesday, while appearing by video from the jail.

Investigators say Treu and his roommate were huffing Dust-Off, a computer keyboard cleaner, Saturday morning while driving in Treu's truck.

RELATED: 11 Charges Against Driver who Hit, Killed Girl Scouts and Parent While Huffing

The roommate told police Treu "looked out of it" and was swerving so he grabbed the steering wheel.

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.

The parents of 9-year-old Jayna Kelley, who was killed, said it all feels like a nightmare.

“Picking out a casket was really hard, going through the photos and videos is hard,” said Robin Kelley, Jayna’s mother.

RELATED: Driver in Wisconsin Crash that Killed 3 Girl Scouts, 1 Parent to Appear in Court

Robin Kelley is the leader of Troop 3055 and was out there with the girls on Saturday during their first ever highway cleanup project.

“We were going to go up to our vehicles to be done and the truck came out of nowhere,” Kelley said.

Jayna Kelly, Autumn Helgeson, Haylee Hickle and her mother Sara Jo Schneider died. 

Ten-year-old Madalyn Zwiefelhofer survived and is in the hospital recovering from multiple injuries and open heart surgery.

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

“Each time you fall asleep and then you wake up, the first thing you think is, ah, it’s real," Jayna's father Brian Kelley said.

"Not a dream, not a nightmare,” said Robin Kelley.

"And you usually start crying," Brian Kelley said.

The Kelleys said the support of the community is getting them through their unspeakable grief.

“All the support we’re getting helps us remember the world is not evil,” Robin Kelley said. “It’s not coming to an end. There are so many awesome people so it helps you forget the one evil person that did this.”

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

And right now the family is hanging on to the happy memories of their fourth-grader, who brought such joy to everyone she knew.

“She loved people. And was going to do something wonderful someday,” Robin said.

Memorials and funerals for the victims are planned for this week.

Treu remains in jail on a $250,000 bond.

Because of a prior drunk driving conviction and recent arrest for having meth, he could face an increased punishment.

Each homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

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Alex Jokich

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