School district, Girl Scouts mourn loss of 4 in Wisconsin hit-and-run

The Chippewa Falls School District Administration and the Girl Scouts of America are mourning the loss of three Girl Scouts and one volunteer after a fatal hit-and-run crash Saturday near Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Shortly before noon, a pickup driver hit multiple victims on County Road P and the Highway 29 overpass near Weber Field near Eau Claire, Wis. The pickup truck left the road and struck the Girl Scout troop in the ditch. The scouts were picking up trash on the side of the road at the time.

The driver has been identified as 21-year-old Colten Treu of Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Two other scouts were injured in the crash - one was airlifted to a hospital and is in critical condition. The other was taken to the hospital by ambulance. 

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

According to the school district, the girls were students from two elementary schools, Halmstad Elementary and Southview Elementary.

Sunday afternoon, Chippewa Falls Superintendent of Schools Heidi Eliopoulos said the names of the girls will be released Monday morning. She said the Girl Scout troop out at that time were around the 4th grade level. Approximately 15 people were out picking up trash in total when the incident occured. 

Eliopoulos also said the district's crisis teams convened yesterday to prepare for the school day tomorrow. 

In a statement, the school district wrote, "this is a difficult time for our students, families and staff. We will be providing ongoing support for both students/families and staff for as long as needed."

Statement from Lake Hallie Police Sgt. Daniel Sokup:

The Lake Hallie Police Department would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families involved. We would also like to thank the City of Chippewa Falls Police Department, Chippewa County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin State Patrol and Chippewa Fire District for their assistance in this matter. 

Statement from Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office:

This is a truly horrific incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, fellow students, fellow scouts and everyone else impacted by this. Truly, as a community, this affects every one of us. Something very precious has been lost and nothing can bring it back. We grieve with you. With grief can come pain and anger for what has happened. Our focus and our energy needs to be with those impacted by this terrible event. No one should take matters into their own hands.

The incident is still under investigation by the Lake Hallie Police Department.