MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sentencing began Tuesday for a Wisconsin man found guilty of killing three Girl Scouts and a mother in a hit-and-run crash.
Colten Treu, 23, was found guilty late last year of four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of hit-and-run.
In November of 2018, he hit and killed three Girl Scouts — 9-year-old Jayna Kelley, 10-year-old Autumn Helgeson, 10-year-old Haylee Hickle — and a mother, Sara Schneider, while they were cleaning up a roadside.
Kelley’s family members, including father Brian Kelley, mother Robin Kelley, and sister Tara Kelley, gave victim impact statements in court.
“My life has been an emotional blur since November 3, 2018. I see a paramedic working on her in an ambulance, and I remember the hope we got when they said her pulse came back. I seen the helicopter airlifting her towards the west. I remember the agonizing ride to St. Paul,” Kelley said. “I can’t envision myself ever forgiving the defendant for what he did that day.”
Robin Kelley was there when the SUV driven by Treu drove into the median on County Road P — witnessing four deaths, and the injury of fellow scout Madalyn Zwiefelhofer.
“I saw the pieces of the truck laying close to where Jayna was hit, and I had never felt such anger before. Helplessness, crushing shock and despair, but so much anger,” Robin Kelley said.
He left the scene, hiding the vehicle and going about his life. When he was caught, he admitted to police that he was high from chemical inhalation, or huffing, at the time of the crash.
“Justice is about fairness, and there is nothing fair about this situation,” Brian Kelley said. “It isn’t fair that Jayna died. It isn’t fair that Autumn died. It isn’t fair that Haylee died. It isn’t fair that Sara died. And it isn’t fair that Madalyn has suffered so badly.”
All asked the judge to give Treu the maximum sentence for a crime that has impacted so many, including Tara Kelley, Jayna’s sister.
“Losing someone who is so close to you is the hardest mental pain anyone could ever go through. I feel the effects every day,” Tara Kelley said.
None are more effected than the Girl Scouts who saw what happened to their friends, their siblings and their classmates.
Treu asked for forgiveness in an audio tape played in court Tuesday. He said he cannot believe one mistake on his part impacted so many people. He will be back in court Wednesday. His sentencing is scheduled to last up to three days.