Chippewa County dispatchers awarded for response to tragic girl scout crash that killed four

Published: Jun. 12, 2019 at 12:09 PM CDT
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Four 911 dispatchers with the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office are receiving an award for their response to the hit-and-run crash that killed three local girl scouts and a mom back in November.

On November 3, 2018 tragedy struck the Chippewa Valley. During a highway cleanup project, three Girl Scouts from Troop 3055 and one of their moms were hit by a vehicle before the driver fled the scene. The four were killed and another Girl Scout hurt. Tamee Foldy,Mike Sokup, Hera Novak, and Pam Crandall (not pictured) were working in the emergency communications center the day of the crash.

Chris Cord, Director of the Emergency Communications Center says the award is shining a light on public service employees not often recognized for the hard work they do. "Pam took the initial call and while she was speaking to a distraught caller, Tamee received another call from someone else on scene and between the two of them, they were able to determine initially what had happened and a location and get responders dispatched out there," said Cord.

All four dispatchers are now being recognized by the International Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials with the teammates in action award for their response to the 911 calls from the scene. "It was so impactful to the community because of everyone who responded, from the telecommunications that received this award to all the different agencies that were involved,” said Cord.

Cord says calls involving children are some of the toughest to handle for dispatchers. He says the outpouring from the community and the support they've given to all the agencies involved is extremely humbling. "For me and for the organization, it’s great to have some of our employees recognized for the work they do.

He says many time, 911 dispatchers are behind the scenes and don’t get a lot of recognition. “To have this international organization recognize the work they did is extremely satisfying," said Cord.

The hit-and-run driver was later identified as Colten Treu. He's accused of huffing from an aerosol canister before the crash.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled to stand trial in January.

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Four dispatchers with the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office have been given the Teammates In Action award for their involvement with the tragic girl scout crash that killed four people in November.

The award was given to Pam Crandall, Tamee Foldy, Hera Novak and Mike Sokup by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO).

In a news release, the APCO said "calls involving children and young adults are hands down some of the toughest calls a telecommunicator can handle. Regardless of being police, fire or EMS related, child related calls tax not only the call taker, but the dispatcher and everyone in the center."

The crash happened as Troop 3055 was picking up trash on Highway P in Lake Hallie. Three girls were killed and one of the girls' mother was killed. Another girl scout was also injured. The driver, later identified as Colten Treu, fled the scene.

The APCO says telecommunicators Pam Crandall and Tamee Foldy received the first phone calls from distraught parents on the scene and did an exceptional job of calming them down, as best they could, to obtain the information they needed. Tamee was also the primary dispatcher for that channel and sent out for the initial response.

Teammates Hera Novak and Mike Sokup helped with answering radio traffic associated with the incident and assisted with calling in three air ambulances and additional ground ambulances. Overall, resources from ten different agencies responded and the APCO says the team of four excelled at coordinating it all.

Treu is accused of huffing from an aerosol canister before the crash. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled to stand trial in January.

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