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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STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.

Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store,

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CONOVER - Hundreds of people gathered in Conover to celebrate all things winter. On Saturday the fifth annual Northwoods Blizzard Blast was held. 

There were horse drawn sleigh rides, sledding, giant ski races, and plenty of other winter activities.

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PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures.
Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture.
They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from.
"They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.

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CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.

The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.

"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.

"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.

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RHINELANDER - A "somewhat unclear", but potential threat led Rhinelander High School to increase the police presence on Friday.

A statement from the School District of Rhinelander reports a note mentioning some sort of threat was found in a boys' bathroom stall after students arrived in the morning.

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RHINELANDER - A 27-year-old Rhinelander woman put a down payment on a "hit" to kill her husband, according to police.

Megan Danielczak's down payment was actually taken by an undercover agent of the state Division of Criminal Investigation. Danielczak believed the agent was a "hitman."

Danielczak was arrested Thursday at her workplace in Tomahawk. She's currently in Oneida County Jail, facing charges for solicitation to commit first degree intentional homicide.

"We've had other cases involving domestic violence and things like [that], but this is my first time that I've seen that in 28 years," said Rhinelander Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier.

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RHINELANDER - This Friday marked a special occasion, the first fish fry of the lent season. One Rhinelander parish got enough fish to feed around 700 people.

The Nativity Catholic School got quite a crowd early Friday evening for its fish fry. 

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