Police: Driver was ‘huffing’ before crash that killed 3 Girl Scouts, one adult

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin - Police say the 21-year-old driver accused of striking and killing three Girl Scouts and a mother and injuring a fourth girl had been inhaling chemical vapors before the crash in northwestern Wisconsin.

Authorities are recommending 13 charges against Colten Treu, including four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. Lake Hallie police say Treu and a passenger in his pickup truck told police they had been intentionally inhaling chemical vapors, or huffing, just before the crash around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

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

Lake Hallie Police say the truck Treu was driving veered out of it's lane, crossed the center line and left the road entirely when it traveled into a ditch, hitting 4 children and 1 adult.

The victims were among seven children and five adults who were working in the ditches along the roadway.

The traffic crash claimed the lives of Jayna S. Kelley, 9, Autum A. Helgeson, 10, Haylee J. Hickle, 10, and her mother Sara Jo Schneider, 32.

Another 10-year-old girl is in stable condition at the hospital.

Police say Treu kept driving. Officers tracked the car to a garage by following vehicle fluids that had been leaking from the truck.

Treu and the passenger were not there. The two turned themselves in several hours later.