MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Colten Treu has been sentenced to 54 years in prison for driving while high and killing three Girl Scouts and one mother, and severely injuring another Girl Scout.
The crash happened while they were all cleaning the side of a Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin highway in November of 2018.
Treu, 23, was found guilty late last year of four counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of hit-and-run.
The victims were 9-year-old Jayna Kelley, 10-year-old Autumn Helgeson, 10-year-old Haylee Hickle, and a mother, Sara Schneider.
On Tuesday, Jayna’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 Nov. 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.”
Prosecutors argued Treu 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.
“Huffing is just such a stupid thing to do and the fact that you can buy it off the shelf so easily is just ridiculous and we don’t want this to happen to another family,” Kelley said.
After Treu’s sentencing, the Kelley family was not as pleased with the outcome as they had liked.
“We were hoping for a little bit more I think in our family. It’s not a guarantee that it’s going to be life in prison with that sentence and that was kind of our goal is that none of us would ever have to see him again, Kelley said.
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.
“I screwed up, bad. And no matter what I say or do you guys are never going to know how sorry I really am,” Treu said.
While the Girl Scout troop will never be the same, they plan to continue to do the same good work for their community and make it a better place. The Kelley family is still involved with the troop and thanks the Girl Scouts for their support.
Jayna Kelley’s parents also set up a memorial foundation in their daughter’s honor with the goal of improving the lives of children by putting on activities for kids in the community throughout the year.