Authorities identify snowmobiler found dead in northern Rice County

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FARIBAULT DAILY NEWS

A snowmobiler who was reported missing early Sunday morning has died.

Chad Daniel VanZuilen, 37, of Dundas, reportedly left a Webster Township residence on his snowmobile and did not arrive at his destination in Northfield, according to a release from the Rice County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies and Northfield Fire & Rescue personnel were dispatched around 1:45 a.m. to search for VanZuilen in northern Rice County, including areas in rural Webster, Bridgewater and Forest townships. VanZuilen and his snowmobile were located at approximately 3:45 a.m. in the 6000 block of Hazelwood Avenue just northwest of the I-35/Hwy. 19 intersection.

Investigators believe that VanZuilen, driving alone in blizzard conditions, struck a culvert, according to Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn. He was transported to Northfield Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

VanZuilen worked as a utilities operator for the city of Northfield, and served as a firefighter with Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Services since January 2014.

The Rice County Sheriff’s Office was also assisted by Northfield Ambulance.

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