Local vigils planned to honor 3 Girl Scouts and mother killed in hit-and-run

Posted at 7:26 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 00:26:21-05

It was a day of mourning in western Wisconsin Thursday as two Girl Scouts and a mother who were killed while picking up trash alongside a road in Lake Hallie were laid to rest. Friends and family attended funerals for 10-year-olds Autumn Helgeson and Haylee Hickle as well as Hickle's mother, Sara Schneider. Hickle's school principal read notes from classmates and remembered the girl and her mom.

"Haylee's artwork on the walls of Southview will be a reminder of her unforgettable spirit. We are all fortunate to have had Haylee and Sara in our lives," said Southview Elementary School Principal Sara Denure.

In response to the tragedy, Girl Scout Troop 4029 in Green Bay will hold a vigil at the Brown County Courthouse this weekend. They posted the event online.

"Within 24 hours, we were getting comments from people in Italy and around the world that they wanted to support this troop by doing their own vigils," said Troop Leader Elizabeth Steffel.

This Saturday at 3:00pm, Steffel said 600 troops will hold vigils simultaneously.

"We might be thousands of miles away but just that Girl Scout unity is there no matter how far we are. We all feel it. We are all experiencing the grief." 

Troop 4029 will also collect cards and donations at the vigil to hand deliver to the victims' families. 

Steffel said different community service projects are planned at each vigil with the goal of "making the world a better place in their honor." The Green Bay vigil will collect canned food items to donate to Paul's Pantry. Appleton's vigil will be held at Memorial Park. Attendees will clean the grounds that day. 

Troop 4029 is also creating a special badge. Girl Scouts will have to perform a community service project in memory of the girls who died to earn that badge. The funds raised will also go to the victims' families in Chippewa Falls.

The final victim of the tragedy, 9-year-old Jayna Kelley, will be laid to rest Friday.

As far as the driver, he's now facing criminal charges. Investigators said he was huffing before the crash.