A Naperville man is believed to have died of exposure after crawling out of a truck that broke through an icy lake in northwestern Wisconsin.
The Washburn County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Edward Steinhardt of Naperville. Deputies had been searching for the 30-year-old man since Thursday, when a business owner in St. Louis, Mo., reported a worker had been missing since Dec. 23 in a vehicle with a last GPS location in Washburn County.
On Friday, deputies searched the Dilly Lake area in the town of Crystal with help from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the county’s forestry unit. They found the truck partially submerged at the south end of the lake. The truck had frozen water up to the seat level, but the driver was not inside.
Searchers soon found Steinhardt’s body about a half of a mile south, in brushy bottomland along a creek.
An autopsy has been ordered, but authorities say it’s likely that Steinhardt escaped from his vehicle and then succumbed to the cold. Authorities don’t know why his truck ended up on the lake.
Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden issued a warning that heavy snowfall in the area has created unsafe ice conditions on many lakes.