UPDATE: Colten Treu found guilty of four counts of vehicular homicide

Published: Dec. 16, 2019 at 12:57 PM CST
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Monday afternoon in front of around 30 family members of the five victims from the 2018 fatal hit-and-run crash in Lake Hallie, Colten Treu changed his plea.

"This plea has been coming for about two or three weeks I understand. Have you had enough time to talk to your lawyer about this, lawyers about this?," said Chippewa County Circuit Court Judge James Isaacson.

"Yes, your honor," responded Treu.

In early Nov. 2018, Treu was driving down County Road P in Lake Hallie after allegedly "huffing" chemical vapors when he crashed into Girl Scout Troop 3055, killing three girl scouts, a mother, and hurting a fifth person.

Monday, Treu changed his plea to no contest on four counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and was found guilty by Judge Isaacson.

Treu also pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run causing great bodily harm.

"I think it was all about holding him accountable and obviously the four homicides are the more severe of the death related charges. And then for the other young victim who wasn't killed as a result of the crash, then it was about holding him accountable for the injuries," said Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell.

This plea comes just five weeks before a jury trial was scheduled to start in January.

"It's impossible to testify at trial without reliving the events in your mind because you have to recreate it so you can answer the questions. Research shows that making people recreate trauma is not good for them. So the amount of trauma that you can reduce by not going to trial is better for the victims," explained Newell.

Little outward emotion was shown in the courtroom, by either families of the victims or Treu's family, as the pleas were read.

"I'm going to do everything in my power at sentencing time to have him held accountable for the harm that he did to the citizens here in Chippewa County and to those four young girls and the mother," said Newell.

The defense attorney's for Treu declined to comment on the case until after sentencing, which is scheduled for March 10 and 11.

The other six charges in the case were dismissed, but will be read-in for consideration during the sentencing.

Treu faces a maximum of 175 years in prison.

The man charged in the hit-and-run that killed three Girl Scouts and a mother of one of the girls pleaded no contest and was found guilty of four counts of vehicular homicide in Chippewa County court Monday.

Colten Treu, 22, also pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run causing great bodily harm, all other charges were dismissed but will be read-in at sentencing.

Treu originally pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges.

Prosecutors have said Treu was high on fumes from an aerosol can when he crashed into the Girl Scout Troop 3055 picking up trash along a highway in Lake Hallie in November of 2018.

According to the criminal complaint, Treu bought a can of air duster the morning of the crash. It goes on to say he and a passenger were huffing the chemicals just prior to the crash. Treu's passenger noticed he was "out of it" and tried to grab the wheel. It said after the two fought over the wheel, the truck went over the crossing lanes, going into the ditch and hitting the girls.

The complaint said Treu went to his home right after the crash and parked his truck in the driveway. It said he had another person put the truck in the garage.

The complaint also said a deputy was able to follow a fluid trail that led police to Treu's garage, where the vehicle, a black Ford F-150 was located.

During Monday's court appearance, the judge said Treu's sentencing will likely take place March 10-11.

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) --Colten Treu, the accused Girl Scout hit-and-run driver, will be in court and is expected to change his plea.

On Dec. 6, Treu's legal team said that a plea deal is expected to be reached.

Treu previously pleaded not guilty to 11 charges. If he stands by his not guilty plea. a jury trial in Chippewa County is scheduled for January.

To watch the live stream, scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.,