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By Phil Helsel
Three girls were killed and a fourth was in critical condition Saturday after the driver of a pickup truck struck members of a Girl Scout troop picking up trash on the side of a Wisconsin road, police said.
An adult woman was also killed in the crash, which occurred around 11:41 a.m. on County Highway P in Lake Hallie, a village northeast of Eau Claire. The Ford F-150 was traveling northbound when it crossed over a lane of traffic and into the ditch, where it struck the group, Lake Hallie police Sgt. Daniel Sokup said.
The driver, identified as Colton Treu, 21, of Chippewa Falls, fled the scene but later turned himself in, police said. It was not immediately clear what charges he could face. A phone number for Treu could not immediately be found, and it was unclear if he has an attorney.
“The Lake Hallie Police Department would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families involved,” Sokup said in a statement Saturday evening, noting that the investigation remains ongoing.
A relative of one of the uninjured girls told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the children were area Girl Scouts in the fourth grade at Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls.
They were all wearing bright safety vests and were accompanied by several adults, the relative said.
A cause of the crash was not released by police.
The Chippewa Falls Police Department in a statement posted to Facebook Saturday evening called it a “truly horrific incident” and extended its condolences to the victims and their families.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends, fellow students, fellow scouts and everyone else impacted by this,” the Chippewa Falls Police Department said. “Truly, as a community, this affects everyone one of us. Something very precious has been lost and nothing can bring it back. We grieve with you.”