U.S. Army retracts story about soldier's acts of heroism in Sweetwater
SWEETWATER, Texas —
It is a story about a soldier saving a man's life on the side of the road in Sweetwater and the soldier's actions getting nationwide attention.
However, it turns out that the 20-year-old soldier from Fort Bliss was lying.
KTXS talked to a first responder that responded to the car crash where the soldier claimed to have helped to save a life, who like so many others can not believe how Sgt. Trey Troney blatantly exaggerated his story of heroism.
Troney was being hailed a hero for his lifesaving efforts at the scene of an accident in Sweetwater while on his way from El Paso to Mississippi.
Troney was claiming to have wrapped his New Orleans Saints hoodie around the victim's head to stop the victim from bleeding and stabbing an ink pen between the victim's ribs to create an airway, since he said that the victim's lung had collapsed.
“The state trooper was like, 'Did you really just put an ink pen between his ribs,' and I was like, 'yeah,'" said Troney.
Gifts for the 20-year-old soldier poured in, including tickets to Super Bowl LIII and positive recognition from Fort Bliss in El Paso all the way up to the Pentagon.
Troney's seemingly incredible story was getting a lot of attention on Facebook, including on the military page "We are the Mighty."
“And then the state trooper was just in awe that I'm crazy enough to just put an ink pen through somebody's ribs,” Troney said.
Earlier this month, an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that Troney's story was an elaborate hoax.
What is true about Troney's story is that the accident did happen in Sweetwater along I-20 at mile marker 250.
"I think it started right back here," said Lt. Brad Payne with the Sweetwater Fire Department.
On Dec. 22, Payne and first responders with the Sweetwater Fire Department were dispatched to a multi-vehicle accident at about 1:30 p.m.
When Payne arrived, Troney was already at the site of the crash, but nobody who was at the scene of the wreck said that Troney saved a man's life like Troney claimed that he did.
"For someone to claim that they did something like that on a scene that my guys were actually working, to me, it's offensive," Payne said. "I feel a responsibility to my guys and my crew to make sure the truth is put out there."
DPS investigators also reviewed bodycam footage, which showed no evidence of the interaction that Troney claimed that he had with a state trooper, which he mentioned that he had multiple times in his interviews.
As for the identity of the victim, Troney told the U.S. Army that he rendered aid to a man named Jeff Udger, but that also does not match up with what is listed on the insurance papers regarding the crash.
“You have someone claiming to do these lifesaving procedures and getting all these awards, merit and fame under false pretenses,” said Payne. "When you have people that really do that, people like my guys that do that stuff."
The Army Times published a story about the incident that gave a lot of praise to Troney, but that story recently got retracted and the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss is investigating the statements that were made by Troney about the wreck.