An 85-year-old Macon man died Monday after he accidentally shot himself in the chest with a shotgun he was removing from a vehicle.
Officials said E.J. Fried was taking the 12-gauge shotgun off of a gun rack in a Jeep and the trigger got caught on one of the hooks causing it to discharge.
Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said Fried died instantly.
Fried, a well-known retired businessman, was driving in a Buick station wagon along Woodfield Drive about 9:30 a.m. when he pulled to the side of the road, apparently to check on the shotgun that was being kept on the gun rack attached to the dashboard of a 1940s-style jeep he was towing, Jones said.
Some Macon Water Authority employees who were nearby when the car stopped heard the shotgun blast, Jones said.
“I think he was removing the shotgun when he went behind (the station wagon) to the Jeep,” Jones said. “I don’t think he knew it was loaded.”
Jones said he has ruled the shooting accidental.
Deputy Sean Defoe, the spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said people need to be careful when handling firearms.
“You always want to treat a weapon as if it’s loaded,” he said.
Fried’s son, Guy, was at the scene shortly after the accident. He declined to comment.
“His son is real shook up,” said Jones.
E.J. Fried, born in Pensacola, Fla., had been an avid hunter for many years. He was profiled by the late Telegraph sports editor Harley Bowers several times over the years for his hunting treks to Alaska, Colorado and Africa. Bowers referred to Fried as “one of Macon’s most avid hunters.”
Fried, a World War II veteran, started Kee Wee Chemicals, a local cleaning service, in the 1950s. Later, he expanded his business ventures with Kee Wee Teepees, a portable toilet business. He hand-fashioned the first portable toilets out of plywood, but later expanded to manufactured fiberglass models.
He also founded Ace Trash Service, a business he operated for 15 years before selling it.
Graham Webster, Fried’s grandson, said the family will be receiving visitors at Guy Fried’s home, 12 River Trace, Macon.
Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report.