Mistaken Identity Leads Wrong Parents To Be Notified Of Son's Death
New York - It is every parent's worst fear.
For 90 minutes, Geri Esposito believed that her child had been killed.
"I just fell against the wall," she said. "It was surreal."
It was early Saturday morning when two Suffolk County police officers approached the Esposito's Mastic Beach home to tell them about 26-year-old Freddie Esposito.
"He said 'I am sorry to inform you that there's been a fatal car accident in Pennsylvania.' And I said 'Is he gone?' And he said 'Yes'," said Al Esposito, Freddie's father.
So through their tears, the Esposito's called their two olders sons – both NYPD officers – one of whom lived with Freddie in Bay Shore.
That son stopped by Freddie's basement apartment, only to find his brother very much alive, and asleep on the couch.
"He touched Freddie's hand and started screaming, 'You're supposed to be dead," said Al Esposito.
"Freddie just snarled at him," said Geri Esposito. "I'm not dead! I'm sleeping!"
With the news that Freddie was alive, his mother passed out for the second time.
"First being told my son was dead and then an hour and a half later, being told, 'Oops, sorry, that was a mistake.'"
From phone calls back and forth to Pennsylvania police, the Espositos pieced together that one of the two boys killed was an 18-year-old Stony Brook student, Freddie's fraternity brother, who had been using their son's license.
The other young man killed was a good friend of Freddie Esposito's.
"I just keep thinking about the other families," said Freddie's father.
"It's just heartbreaking," said Geri Esposito. "I don't know them. I can't reach out to them. My son is alive. I am so sorry about your son."
While this story had a happy ending for the Espositos, they are still concerned about how Pennsylvania state troopers conducted the investigation of the car crash on Route 80.