Driver was huffing before crash that killed Girl Scouts and mom

Driver was huffing before crash that killed Girl Scouts and mom

The community of Chippewa Falls gathered Sunday evening at Halmstad Elementary, where hundreds of people remembered the lives of the victims in Saturday's tragedy.

The fourth-graders from the Chippewa Falls School District were picking up trash along County Highway P as part of a community service project when they were struck.

The primary school aged children were bagging litter in a ditch on the side of a country road in the small town of Lake Hallie, 150km east of Minneapolis, when tragedy struck on Saturday morning.

Suddenly, a speeding Ford F-150 veered off the road into a ditch where three girls and an adult chaperone were performing community service. A surviving Scout was in critical condition.

Police identified the victims as Jayna S. Kelley, 9; Autum A. Helgeson, 10, both of Lake Hallie; Haylee J. Hickle, 10, and her 32-year-old mother, Sara Jo Schneider, both of Lafayette.

In a message to parents, Superintendent Heidi Eliopoulos said: "This is a hard time for our students, families and staff".

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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". At the time of the crash, all members of the group were in the ditch on the west side of County Road P just south of the Highway 29 overpass bridge. But to his credit, the 21-year-old came back later and turned himself in to the police.

Holding candles and umbrellas, the crowd gathered Sunday evening outside Halmstad Elementary School.

Authorities are set to release the names of the girls and the woman who died on Monday.

"The Lake Hallie Police Department would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families involved", police said in a statement.

A relative of one of the uninjured girls told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the children were area Girl Scouts in the fourth grade at Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls.

A 21-year-old driver accused of killing three Girl Scouts and a mother in northwestern Wisconsin is being held on $250,000 bond while he faces charges of vehicular homicide.

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Sokup said Treu will be charged with four counts of homicide through the negligent use of a vehicle.

In a statement, the Girl Scouts of America said, "Our hearts are with our Girl Scout sisters in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin".

According to Lake Hallie Police, the driver fled the scene, but turned himself in later Saturday.

Police said 21-year-old Colten Treu was driving a pick-up truck that left the road and hit the troop.

A candlelight vigil was held for the victims at Halmstead Elementary School, where two of the deceased girls attended, on Sunday night.

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