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Name released of wrong-way driver killed in crash on US-51 in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 08/14/2017
Name released of wrong-way driver killed in crash on US-51 in Lincoln County
Story By Newswatch 12 News Team

Photos By Merrill Fire Department

MERRILL - Update: A Merrill man died when his car went the wrong way on Highway 51 and slammed head on into a bus in Lincoln County.

Deputies tell us 26-year-old Kyle Thao was driving south in the northbound lane when he hit a bus full of people returning from a Brewers game.

The crash happened on Highway 51 near County Highway Q around 3 a.m. Saturday morning

The bus was carrying 29 people and was returning to Rhinelander from Milwaukee.

One woman on the bus was taken to Ministry Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Highway 51 reopened at around 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department at first thought Thao was from Wausau because that's what his driver's license showed.

He was from Merrill.



A head-on crash between a car and a bus full of people returning from a Brewers game killed one driver, injured a passenger, and closed US-51 for more than five hours early Saturday morning

It happened on Highway 51 near County Highway Q around 3 a.m.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says the car was driving south in the northbound lanes when it crashed head-on into the Lamers Bus. The car's driver, a 26-year-old Wausau man, was pronounced dead at the scene.


The bus, which was carrying 29 people, was returning to Rhinelander from an outing at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Several people on board complained of injuries but refused treatment. One woman on the bus was taken to Ministry Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Investigators will test both drivers for drugs and alcohol, but police couldn't say yet if either were factors in the crash.

Merrill, Pine River, and Wausau fire departments, Tomahawk EMS, Marathon County Sheriff's Office, and the Wisconsin State Patrol helped Lincoln County with the crash.

This marks the second deadly crash in Lincoln County in 2017.

Highway 51 reopened around 8 a.m.

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