54 years for hit-and-run driver that killed 3 girls, mother

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin man was sentenced to 54 years in prison Wednesday for the hit-and-run deaths of three Girl Scouts and a mother as they picked up trash along a rural road in 2018.

Colton Treu, 23, earlier pleaded no contest to four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and hit-and-run involving great bodily harm in the November 2018 crash.

Prosecutors had requested a 90-year sentence, while the defense requested 22 years behind bars.

Authorities said Treu was huffing from an aerosol canister before he crashed his pickup truck into the Girl Scouts as they picked up trash along a highway in western Wisconsin. He then drove away.

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The four people killed in the crash were Jayna Kelley, 9; Autumn Helgeson, 10, both of Lake Hallie, Wisconsin; Haylee Hickle, 10, and her mother, Sara Jo Schneider, 32, both of the Town of Lafayette, Wisconsin.

A 10-year-old girl was injured in the crash and was hospitalized for three weeks.

The girls were fourth-graders and members of Troop 3055 in nearby Chippewa Falls, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Minneapolis.

Treu addressed the court just before sentencing.

“No matter what I say or do, you guys are never going to know how sorry I really am,” Treu said. “I can’t give back what I have taken. I want to. Lord knows I want to”.

He was given credit for 495 days he has already spent in jail. He was also sentenced to 45 years of extended supervision to follow his prison sentence.

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