It took a few days, but as news outlets around the country picked up a Jan. 9 Fort Bliss, Texas, press release about a soldier’s heroic response to a gruesome car accident, firefighters in Sweetwater, Texas, started to ask questions.
That wrecked Toyota pickup on the side of Highway 20 sounded very familiar, but Sgt. Trey Troney, the 20-year-old soldier with the New Orleans Saints “Salute to Service” sweatshirt and the ballpoint-pen chest decompression didn’t.
“There are so many similarities, but our patient didn’t have those injuries,” Grant Madden, Sweetwater’s fire chief, told Army Times in a Wednesday phone interview.
Fort Bliss officials on Thursday retracted their story. Troney’s command has initiated an investigation into whether he lied to his leadership about his role in the accident, spokeswoman Maj. Allie Payne told Army Times.
“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,” Payne said in a release.
The truck was part of a multi-vehicle accident big enough that Madden himself responded to it with his team, he told Army Times. The silver Tundra had been hit by an 18-wheeler, he said.
“I was at that wreck,” Madden said. “I removed the man from the wreck.”