Military retracts hero story, questions claim soldier saved crash victim with pen, sweatshirt

Credit: Joe Raedle

Credit: Joe Raedle

Officials at Fort Bliss in Texas have retracted a story that described a heroic response by a soldier and now have launched an investigation after firefighters who were at the scene started asking questions.

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The Army Times said that Sgt. Trey Troney's command is now investigating into what really happened last month on the road from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Raleigh, Mississippi.

Troney claimed he found a Jeff Udger slumped over his truck's steering wheel. He then reportedly used his new sweatshirt to help stop the bleeding from a wound to Udger's head, according to the original Army press release.

Also in that release, Troney noticed Udger’s left chest wasn’t moving and, suspecting the man had a collapsed lung, said he used a pen to create an airway directly into Udger’s lung between his ribs.

After the story was picked up nationwide, firefighters in Sweetwater, Texas, contacted the Army Times about an accident on the highway that sounded similar but lacked some of the elements in Troney's story.

"There are so many similarities, but our patient didn't have those injuries," Grant Madden, Sweetwater's fire chief, who was at the accident, told the Army Times,.

Madden also said that the patient, whose name was Jeff but not Udger, was conscious and did not have a collapsed lung.

Spokeswoman Maj. Allie Payne later said that Troney’s command was investigating the incident and released an apology about the original story:

"The entire 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss team sincerely apologize to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Highway Patrol, the city of Sweetwater, Texas, the city of El Paso, the University of Texas at El Paso, the New Orleans Saints, the local and national media and the American people."

KDBC-TV said that the Texas Department of Public Safety examined body camera footage and did not see evidence of Troney performing the lifesaving procedures he claimed.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the Army Times that Troney may have been at the accident but didn’t provide the aid he claimed.

"He was at the accident scene. And he may have lent his jacket to apply to the injured victim's head. That's all that we see that he did," Lt. Bryan Witt, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the Army Times.

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