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Ill. officer & Iraq War veteran dies in tragic accident

Officer Down: Kenneth W. Fryman, Jr. - [Mattoon, Illinois]

Biographical Details

Age: 41

Additional Info: Lt. Fryman was a District Commander with the Illinois Secretary of State Police and a member of the US Army National Guard. He had recently returned from his tour of duty in Iraq. He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Lt. Fryman died in a tragic mowing accident.

Date of Incident: June 13, 2005


By Herb Meeker, Mattoon Journal Gazette

LAKE PARADISE, Ill. -- Friends and co-workers of Kenny Fryman Jr. are trying to cope with the sudden death of the law officer and Iraq War veteran the day after he died in a mowing accident near his lake home.

The 41-year-old served with the Illinois Secretary of State Police for many years and with the U.S. Army 106th Aviation Unit from Decatur when that unit sent personnel to Iraq.

On Monday afternoon, Fryman died when his mowing tractor rolled into Lake Paradise while he was cutting grass and weeds along the edge of the lake near his home. "It appears to have been overbalanced and rolled over," Mattoon Fire Chief Bruce Grafton said Tuesday. "He was pinned down in water less than three feet deep. He was pinned under the rear portion of the tractor near the driver's seat." Coles County Coroner Mike Nichols said the initial 9-1-1 call was placed at 12:25 p.m.

Fryman's wife tried to free her husband from under the tractor after it rolled over. A wrecker vehicle was later flagged down as it passed near the scene. Mattoon Fire Department Rescue Squad members arrived to find rescue efforts were under way with the help of an Illinois Conservation officer. "Our personnel entered the water, helped with the towing cable and then the tractor was shifted so the victim could be removed," Grafton said. "Resuscitation continued on the victim until he was transported by ambulance to the emergency room of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center." Fryman was pronounced dead at 1:14 p.m. in the hospital ER, according to Nichols.

"It's still under investigation by the sheriff's department and the coroner's office," Nichols said Tuesday afternoon. "The apparent cause of death is drowning." An inquest will be held at a later date, Nichols added. Fryman is survived by his wife and two sons.
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