Soldier saves injured man’s life with ballpoint pen
By STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: January 15, 2019
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been retracted by the Army.
A Fort Bliss soldier used a ballpoint pen and his New Orleans Saints hoodie to save a man who was seriously injured in a crash in West Texas.
Sgt. Trey Troney, 20, was driving Dec. 22 on Interstate 20 near Sweetwater when he came across a serious crash, according to an Army statement. The driver of a pickup involved in the accident, Jeff Udger, had a bleeding head injury, cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. Troney said he pulled over to the crash site and noticed Udger was trapped in his truck. At first, Udger was alert enough to be able to joke about Troney using his “Salute to Service” Saints hoodie to help stop the bleeding, Troney said in the statement.
“Well, this is Cowboy country, so I don’t know how I feel about you wrapping me up in a Saints hoodie,” Udger told Troney.
Troney had a decompression needle among some first aid supplies in his car from his brigade’s recent rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. He injected the needle into Udger to relieve pressure from his chest, but found it was too small. He found a ballpoint pen, tore out the ink and used the hollow tube to reach the collapsed lung.
Udger, who lives in Longview, said he lost consciousness and regained it as he was being wheeled into an ambulance. By that time, Troney had left.
“He kept talking to me and acted as if the situation was no pressure at all,” Udger said in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Udger said via email that he’s healing from the punctured lung and cracked ribs.
Troney said he later heard from Udger, who found the soldier on Facebook to thank him for saving his life. He said Udger offered to buy him a new New Orleans Saints hoodie; Troney is a self-proclaimed “Saints fan in Cowboy country.”
Troney, who is originally from Raleigh, Miss., has been stationed at Fort Bliss for the past four years. He and his wife recently bought a new house in El Paso. He said he was glad he was in the right place at the right time to help after the accident.
“You’re just there and you might have what they need,” Troney said in the statement. “He needed an ink pen to the ribs. Luckily I had an ink pen.”