Man dies of exposure after truck plunges through ice
TREGO - Edward Steinhardt, 30, of Naperville, Ill., had been missing since Monday, Dec. 23 when his body was found approximately half-mile south of Potato Creek near the south end of Dilly Lake in the Town of Crystal in Washburn County.
According to a news release from the Washburn County Sheriff's Department, on Thursday, Dec. 26 the sheriff's department was contacted by Steinhardt's employer to aid in the company vehicle's recovery. The last known location of the truck, due to a GPS system, was the Trego area.
Steinhardt and the truck were not found until Friday, Dec. 27 at the south end of Dilly Lake, in Potato Creek, approximately three miles east of U.S. Hwy. 53, where it had broken through the ice. Officials found the truck cab half submersed in the creek.
According to authorities, the preliminary evidence at the scene indicates that Steinhardt drove across the ice on Dilly Lake and proceeded South on Potato Creek before breaking through the ice. After becoming wet, Steinhardt exited the vehicle and began walking along the creek until he succumbed to the harsh winter weather conditions.
On the nights Steinhardt was missing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lists the region's average temperature at −1 degree.
Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden stated in the report that the heavy snowfalls this winter have created unsafe ice conditions issuing a warning regarding vehicle traffic on area lakes. He noted that the department has responded to numerous vehicles that have broken through ice this winter. - Danielle Moe with information from Washburn County Sheriff’s Dept.