It’s every parent’s very worst nightmare—Karen and Jay Priest were awoken at 3 a.m. and told by an Alaska State Trooper that their son, 29-year-old Justin Priest, had been killed in a car accident in Juneau.
The grieving couple somehow managed to gather their wits about them enough to drive to their other son, Cody’s house, and tell him the heartbreaking news. Upon hearing that his brother was dead, Cody collapsed.
Next, the family headed to tell Justin's long-time girlfriend Julia. They arrived at her home at 5:30 AM.
Karen tells the AP, that Jay knocked on the door and:
It opens and right here is Justin. I don't even see it but Jay is sobbing. It doesn't compute to me. Then I see him. You want it to be true, but you go, 'Am I hallucinating?' Justin didn't know what was going on.
Not surprisingly, the sleepy-headed Justin was confused by all the commotion and hysteria, telling the AP, "They were yelling, 'Praise Jesus! It's a miracle!'"
Actually though, it was a clerical error. It turns out the Trooper had notified the wrong Justin Priest’s family—the Justin Priest who actually died was a 33-year-old.
Alaska police claim they requested the Trooper go to the Priests’ home to find out if the crash victim was their son, NOT to tell them he had died. However, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman, Megan Peters, insists they were asked to make a death notification.
Whatever the true scenario, Alaska police head-honcho, Chief Bryce Johnson, said, "I'm almost speechless for words. This shouldn't happen."