Exclusive: U.S. Troops Abandoned Me, Says Convoy Driver

By Brian Ross And Rhonda Schwartz

Sep 27, 2006 11:16am

A dramatic home video obtained by ABC News shows U.S. troops apparently abandoned a truck convoy after it came under insurgent attack in Iraq last year. Three unarmed Halliburton truck drivers were executed at point-blank range once the troops left, according to a surviving driver, Preston Wheeler, of Mena, Ark., who taped the scene. "They was murdered. To me, they was murdered," Wheeler told ABC News in an exclusive interview to be broadcast Wednesday on World News and Nightline. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Check out Videos in the Brian Ross Video Section on the Brian Ross Page Video World News: Anatomy of an Ambush Escaped Top al Qaeda Leader Killed in Iraq The tape shows an armored personnel carrier leading the trucks that Wheeler says was from the Virginia National Guard. Once insurgents opened fire and disabled four trucks, the personnel carrier can be seen racing ahead. "They left. They, I don’t know where they went, they’re nowhere to be seen," Wheeler said. Wheeler says it was 45 minutes before a U.S. military force returned. By then, Wheeler says, he had seen two drivers shot at point-blank range. He identified them as Keven Dagit, of Jefferson, Iowa, and Sascha Greener-Case, of Sierra Vista, Ariz. A Pentagon spokesman said the military had no immediate comment on the incident. The tape documents the final 15 minutes of the convoy’s run out of Camp Anaconda, near Balad, Iraq. Wheeler says the military commander took a wrong turn, and the convoy ended up in a neighborhood known as an insurgent stronghold. Wheeler says Halliburton did not provide any of the drivers with maps or even rudimentary drawings of the location. He says when he was hired by Halliburton he was promised the trucks would be equipped with bullet proof glass and armed guards every third truck. "That’s a lie, it’s a gimmick, a sales pitch," Wheeler said. Wheeler says he was told not to talk to the press. A Halliburton security guard wanted to delete the video of the ambush so that it would not become public, he says. "He was afraid it was going to get on the Internet," Wheeler says. A spokesperson for Halliburton declined to discuss the specifics of Wheeler’s accusations and tape. The spokesperson says its employees sent to Iraq are fully informed of the risky nature of the assignment. Wheeler was hit by two AK-47 rounds and suffered serious damage to his right arm. Two months after the ambush, Halliburton notified him he was fired, citing a "work-related" injury.

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