At this point, police can only speculate about what was on the mind of the driver, an Illinois man, who headed the wrong way down the northbound lane of the busy highway.
Traveling at what witnesses say were excessive speeds, the pickup truck slammed into a minivan shortly after 1:00, killing the truck driver and both occupants of the van, a man and a woman from Merrill.
"As far as the other drivers were going northbound," said Capt. Jeff Frenette, Wisconsin State Patrol, "it's pretty tough. It's a four-lane highway. I'm sure they were in the left lane this other vehicle came around the corner and there they met."
Frenette says a full investigation of the accident with toxicology tests is ongoing.
Witnesses driving on the northbound lane say they were flashing their lights and blaring their horns to get the truck to stop, but the driver did not respond.
Officers from the state patrol, Wausau Police Department and two counties tried to catch the truck and stop it, but could not reach it before the crash.
All three people involved were pronounced dead on the scene of an accident that the state patrol is saying, was not an accident.