Skip to comments.Oklahoma barge crash - Report: Army impostor may be Missouri ex-con
Posted on 06/06/2002 8:13:31 PM PDT by HAL9000
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FBI investigates Army imposter (re: interstate bridge collapse) News Oklahoma | June 5, 2002 | AP
Posted on 6/6/02 12:52 AM Eastern by Prodigal Daughter
FBI investigates Army imposter
By The Associated Press
The FBI is investigating a man who called himself an Army captain and looked through a briefcase and laptop computer belonging to a victim of last month's deadly interstate bridge collapse.
The man, wearing fatigues and a beret, showed up within two hours of the Interstate 40 collapse and told the mayor he was in charge. He identified himself as Capt. William Clark.
Mayor Jewell Horne said Wednesday that the man told her Army Capt. Andrew Clements had died in the river and that his briefcase and laptop were in the water. A fisherman found the items the day of the collapse and gave them to a Webbers Falls police officer.
The officer gave the items to Clark, who took them and went through them, the mayor said. He brought the briefcase and computer to city hall later that day and asked the mayor to lock them in a safe.
He wanted the key, but Horne said she refused to give it to him.
"He kept trying to say that he was in charge," Horne said. "I finally looked at him and said, 'No, you're not. Until the governor declares martial law, you are not in charge in this town.'"
The mysterious man left Webbers Falls on Monday night, she said.
The mayor said it was eerie that the man knew Clements was among the victims even before his body was recovered.
"But he was correct," she said. "There was a Capt. Clements. There was a briefcase and there was a computer."
Clements, 35, of Woodbridge, Va., was among 14 people killed May 26 when a barge hit the Interstate 40 bridge, causing it to topple into the Arkansas River.
Horne said she was so busy answering phones and directing rescuers that she "didn't have time to think a lot" or check the man's credentials. Two volunteers from the Tulsa medical examiner's office eventually called authorities to check on him, she said.
The FBI, the Army and police in Van Buren and Fort Smith, Ark., are looking for the man, said FBI spokesman Gary Johnson. He said the man obtained goods and services by impersonating a rescue worker.
"It's certainly a very intense investigation," Johnson said.
Authorities are looking into whether the man stayed at a hotel in Van Buren, Ark., free under the auspices of taking part in the rescue operation.
The man also told an Associated Press reporter his name was Capt. William Clark and that he was from Fort Carson, Colo. The fort has no record of the man, said spokeswoman Kim Tisor.
"I PITY DA FOOOOOOL!"
Witnesses said that while there, he spread papers from the briefcase out to dry and examined Clements' dog tags. Horne said that after Clark went through the briefcase, he had her lock it in a safe.
Horne and others eventually became suspicious of the man, and Horne said she told him the Monday following the collapse that he was not in charge, unless the governor declared martial law. Horne said he left that Monday night.
"I know the police carried him (Clark) out of here,'said resident Lottie Hufford, who was photographed with Clark while at the site. "He had at least three file folders with him -- he didn't give them up.'
This goes a long way towards some speculations of mine on yesterday's thread. Him having to spread out the docs to dry aswelas removing three file folders
What doesn't go well is the impersonator story -- for some guy in a uniform just showing up two hours after the fact and knowing of the breifcase and documents . . . .
Another aside we have the Police the troopers and the FBI don't you think that MP's CID and the NSA would show up?
Strange that there is nomention or quotes from these people
I maintain that this entire incident stinks and is more than likely a cover story -- in which the why's are much more important than the events
The barge knocked out the west side of the bridge. Capt. Clements was driving from California to Virginia, from west to east.
There was a large traffic jam at the bridge after the incident. If I understand correctly, the main detour to cross the river around the damaged bridge currently takes about sixty minutes.
Billy Clark's place of residence -Tallapoosa, Mo. - is on the eastern side of Missouri, near Tennessee. There is no way he could have driven from Tallapoosa to the other side of that bridge in Oklahoma in two hours.
"Capt. William Clark" was probably west of the bridge when the barge hit it.
Looking at a map, it's the eastbound detour that probably takes sixty minutes. The westbound detour is much shorter.
I read the article in the Muskogee paper. The wife took it to work and left it there. I live in Muskogee County.
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