Officials: Driver was huffing before crash that killed 4

LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (AP) — A young driver was inhaling chemical vapors, or huffing, just prior to striking and killing three Girl Scouts and a mother and critically injuring a fourth girl who had been picking up trash along a rural Wisconsin highway, police said Monday.

Colten Treu, 21, sped off after the collision in Lake Hallie Saturday morning, but later surrendered.

Treu was being held in the Chippewa County Jail on 13 possible charges, including four counts of intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, Chippewa County Sheriff's Sgt. Robert Jensen said. He is expected to appear for a bond hearing at 10 a.m. Monday, Jensen said.

Lake Hallie police said Monday Treu and a passenger in the pickup truck both told investigators they had intentionally been inhaling chemical vapors just prior to the crash.

Lake Hallie police said Monday that the deceased were: 9-year-old Jayna Kelley and 10-year-old Autum Helgeson, both of Lake Hallie, and 10-year-old Haylee Hickle and her 32-year-old mother, Sara Jo Schneider, from the Town of Lafayette.

The surviving girl was hospitalized in Rochester in critical condition.

RELATED: Girl Scouts hit by car in Wisconsin

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Girl Scouts hit by car in Wisconsin
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Girl Scouts hit by car in Wisconsin
Tire tracks marked with spray paint lead to where a vehicle struck three Girl Scouts and an an adult chaperone on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 in Lake Hallie, Wis. The western Wisconsin community is grieving the deaths of three girls and an adult who were collecting trash along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
A relative of the adult victim struck and killed by a vehicle Saturday looks at the path he thought the truck took when it veered off Wisconsin County Hwy. P, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. The western Wisconsin community is grieving the deaths of three Girl Scouts and an adult who were collecting trash along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
Teddy bears, flowers, and candles were placed on benches outside Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls, Wis. as a memorial to the three Girl Scouts who were struck and killed by a driver who fled the scene, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. The western Wisconsin community is grieving the deaths of three girls and an adult who were collecting trash along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
Sherri Jasper, a Girl Scout board member and counselor at Halmstad Elementary School, leads the program for a candlelight vigil at the school in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Sunday evening, Nov. 4, 2018. The western Wisconsin community on Sunday was grieving the deaths of three Girl Scouts and a parent who were collecting trash Saturday along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. The 21-year-old driver, Colten Treu of Chippewa Falls, sped off but later surrendered. He will be charged with four counts of homicide, Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
Sherri Jasper, a Girl Scout board member and counselor at Halmstad Elementary School, leads the program for a candlelight vigil at the school in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Sunday evening, Nov. 4, 2018. The western Wisconsin community on Sunday was grieving the deaths of three Girl Scouts and a parent who were collecting trash Saturday along a rural highway when police say a pickup truck veered off the road and hit them before speeding away. The 21-year-old driver, Colten Treu of Chippewa Falls, sped off but later surrendered. He will be charged with four counts of homicide, Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)
This photo provided by the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin shows Colten Treu, who is accused of striking and killing three Girl Scouts and a parent and critically injuring a fourth girl who were picking up trash along a rural roadway near Chippewa Falls, Wis., on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Treu was being held in the Chippewa County Jail on 13 possible charges, including four counts of intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. (Chippewa County (Wis.) Sheriff's Office via AP)
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The children were all fourth graders at Halmstad Elementary School and Southview Elementary School in nearby Chippewa Falls, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Minneapolis.

Two small groups of Girl Scouts and their adult chaperones wore bright green safety vests Saturday as they walked along both sides of County Highway P, which they had adopted as a community service project.

Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said Saturday that Treu's black Ford F-150 crossed a lane Saturday morning and veered into a roadside ditch, striking the victims.

Hundreds of community members huddled under umbrellas in the biting rain Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil outside Halmstad Elementary. Girl Scouts sang songs in memory of the victims, who were members of Troop 3055. A makeshift memorial of teddy bears, balloons and candles was set up on two wooden benches.

"Our hearts are broken for the girls and families of the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes," CEO Sylvia Acevedo of Girl Scouts of the USA said in a statement Sunday. "The Girl Scout Movement everywhere stands with our sister Girl Scouts in Wisconsin to grieve and comfort one another in the wake of this terrible tragedy."

In a message to parents, Superintendent Heidi Eliopoulos said: "This is a difficult time for our students, families and staff. We will be providing ongoing support for both students (and) families and staff for as long as needed."

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