Cumberland man reported dead; is very much alive

by ABC6 News Reporter Mark Curtis

The online version of Rhode Island's “Valley Breeze” newspaper, has been running a correction.

On Tuesday, the website reported that 19 year old John Chammat of Cumberland died in a Vermont car accident.

Chammat – who is very much alive – said two friends were shocked and phoned him.

“They just called me and said, 'John, the Valley Breeze wrote an article about you saying you were dead.' I was like, what are you talking about?” said Chammat.

Shaken up by pre–mature reports of his own demise, John went to the newspaper office in Lincoln.

“I go to the Valley Breeze. I say, 'Hey, I'm John Chammat, and I'm not dead!' (Reporter: What was their reaction?) “They got the person down there. They apologized to me.”

ABC6 News Reporter Mark Curtis said, “In fact John Chammat was involved in a head on–collision on the highway in Vermont on Monday. It was a round the same time of a different, fatal accident.”

“I can't even tell you how sorry I am. Words can't express how sorry I am,” said Marcia Green of the Valley Breeze.

The editor of the Valley Breeze says a Vermont paper initially got the two incidents confused, then passed along the information.

“They mixed up two accidents that happened up in Vermont. And they both involved 19 year old boys. And they got it wrong, and as a consequence we got it wrong,” said editor Green.

John Chammat accepted the newspaper's apology and is taking it all in stride.

“To be honest with you, I thought it was pretty comical,” Chammat said.

The erroneous online article was only up for two hours, and never made it into the actual newspaper.