Family lawyer confirms Michigan man shot by U.S. forces in Iraq

Sunday, February 11th 2007, 8:53 pm
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ U.S. forces shot and killed a civilian contract truck driver from Michigan near an air base north of Baghdad, a lawyer for the man's family confirmed Sunday.

Donald Tolfree, 52, of St. Charles was a driver for KBR, a contracting subsidiary of Halliburton Co. He deployed to Iraq on Jan. 5 and was killed Feb. 5 at a checkpoint near Camp Anaconda.

Tolfree drove through a U.S. military checkpoint before realizing he was in the wrong convoy, attorney Patrick Greenfelder, who represents Tolfree's daughter, told the Associated Press during a telephone interview. Tolfree turned around and was reapproaching the checkpoint when he was shot and killed, Greenfelder said.

On Saturday, the military and Halliburton announced that a civilian contractor had been killed by U.S. forces at Camp Anaconda, but did not identify the man.

Greenfelder said a KBR representative visited Tolfree's daughter, Kristen Martin, 22, of Owosso, about 2 a.m. Feb. 6 to deliver the news. The representative initially said Tolfree and another convoy driver were killed by a roadside bomb.

Later that day, the representative phoned Martin and said Tolfree was killed by U.S. forces, Greenfelder said. She later learned from news reports that the other driver had survived.

``The details are sketchy,'' said Greenfelder. ``We are just trying to find out what we can. We just want to know what happened.''

The family was not taking any legal action, but they have several questions, he said. They want to know if warning shots were fired, whether it was a two-way checkpoint, why Tolfree was in the wrong convoy and whom, if anyone, he was communicating with before his death.

``The guy just cleared (the checkpoint) a couple minutes ago. What were they shooting him for?'' Greenfelder said.

Tolfree's body will be taken to Dover, Del., where his daughter has given medical officials permission to perform an autopsy, Greenfelder said. Martin planned to have a funeral for her father at the Walker-Martin Funeral Home in Chesaning, the attorney said.

Melissa Norcross, a spokeswoman for KBR, told The AP in an e-mail Saturday that 98 KBR employees and subcontractors have been killed and 430 have been wounded in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. A message seeking comment was left with KBR Sunday.