Wisconsin town mourns Girl Scout, mom killed in hit-and-run
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — Teachers, family and friends said goodbye Thursday to a Girl Scout and her mother killed in a hit-and-run along a rural road in northwestern Wisconsin, with a minister telling mourners their “world has been crushed.”
Hundreds of mourners turned out for a funeral for 32-year-old Sara Schneider and her 10-year-old daughter, Haylee Hickle. The funeral was the first for the three Girl Scouts and young mother killed Saturday as they picked up trash along a Chippewa County highway.
The Rev. Jim Woldhuis told mourners at Chippewa Valley Bible Church that no hugs, flowers or acts of kindness “will fully embrace your pain,” the Star Tribune reported.
“Your world has been crushed. Your joy stolen. Your sense of peace destroyed. My heart and our collective hearts break with you,” Woldhuis said.
Ten-year-old Autumn Helgeson was to be memorialized later Thursday in Chippewa Falls, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Minneapolis. Nine-year-old Jayna Kelly will be eulogized Friday.
Mourners at the funeral for Schneider and her daughter Haylee walked past tables filled with children’s drawings and posters featuring photos of the grinning girl and her mother.
“It’s not really fair,” said 16-year-old Jorie Reitan, whose mother baby-sat Haylee and her brother, Jasper. “They don’t get the chance to do the things that they wanted to grow up to do.”
Across town, the Rev. Jeanne Warner was planning a Thursday evening service for Autumn at Our Saviour’s Luther Church.
“It will never be the same,” Warner said of life without the four. “Their presence will be missed. But in time, the pain will become less acute.”
Vehicular homicide charges have been filed against 21-year-old Colten Treu, who authorities say inhaled chemical vapors before he crashed his pickup truck into them.