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NY cops mistakenly tell family son was dead

The officers wrongly identified a crash victim and informed the family of the death

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Police told a family that their youngest son had been killed in a car crash with a tractor-trailer. It took 90 minutes for the parents to realize their son hadn't been in the car at all - and was at home, asleep.

Alfred and Geri Esposito of Mastic Beach were told Saturday that their son Freddy and another passenger had been killed in a collision in Pennsylvania. A trooper had found the driver's license of 26-year-old Alfred "Freddy" Esposito III in the hands of one of the dead men.

Calls were made to relatives, and someone was sent to tell his grandmother.

Older brother Chris Esposito rushed home from work Saturday to find Freddy asleep at the Bay Shore home they shared. He thought he was seeing a ghost.

The deceased was later identified as 18-year-old Paul Richards of Santa Cruz, Calif. - Freddy Esposito's one-time frat brother.

The Espositos say they do not know why Richards had a copy of their son's license.

Capt. James Murtin, commanding officer of Pennsylvania State Police's Troop N, apologized for the error. He said the identification was based on Esposito's license and a "general match" with Richards.

Alfred Esposito Jr. said he feels lucky. "I vacillate between being overjoyed and being overcome with grief, like it really happened, but then I say, 'Stop it,'" he said. "I have my son."

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