Colten Treu was driving while huffing air duster when he hit the girls

By Harriet Sokmensuer
December 18, 2019 11:54 AM
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A Wisconsin man who killed three Girl Scouts who were cleaning up trash on the side of the road in a hit-and-run has been found guilty of homicide.

On Monday, Colten Treu, 22, changed his plea from not guilty to no contest to four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and one count of hit and run involving great bodily harm, WEAU, WQOW and KARE 11 report.

On Nov. 3, 2018, Treu was driving down a highway in Chippewa County huffing aerosol fumes with a friend in the passenger seat.

After huffing, the passenger told police Treu appeared to be “out of it,” according to a criminal complaint obtained by WEAU. The pair began to fight after the passenger attempted to gain control of the wheel. That’s when Treu’s Ford F-150 pickup truck crossed a highway lane and plowed into a ditch, where a group of fourth-grade Girl Scouts were picking up trash.

Two girls and one mother died on the scene, while a third girl was taken to a hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. A fourth girl was critically injured but survived.

Sara Schneider, 32 (Haylee’s mother), died at the scene

Treu fled the scene and went home, where he had someone else park the truck in the garage. He then went to a party. When a sheriff’s deputy followed a fluid trail to the garage, authorities found Treu’s parked truck.

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Colton Treu
Chippewa Falls Police

“I think it was all about holding him accountable and obviously the four homicides are the more severe of the death related charges. And then for the other young victim who wasn’t killed as a result of the crash, then it was about holding him accountable for the injuries,” Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said, according to WEAU.

After changing his plea Monday, the judge found Treu guilty and dropped five additional charges. They will be considered during his sentencing, which is scheduled for mid-March.

Treu faces a maximum of 175 years in prison. Attorney information was not available Tuesday.