Accidental Amber Alert panics Memphians

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Memphians were thrown into a panic Wednesday morning after an accidental Amber Alert was issued by the National Weather Service's Memphis office.

The alert said several children and their mother were kidnapped, but the case is a year old.

What should have gone out is a TBI warning about a person of interest in the shooting death of a Dickson County deputy.

Gary Woodall is with the National Weather Service office here in Memphis.

He says Nashville's office called them bout an alert, but didn't specify what it was or send the details right away.

Thinking they had, his office accidentally sent out the old Amber Alert - which had a date similar to Wednesday's but for 2017.

"We certainly don't want to make mistakes with things like that," he said.

It was corrected within minutes, but the damage was done.

People called our station asking for descriptions of the children.

Woodall says it's an honest mistake in an effort to get the word out fast.

Whenever life is at risk, seconds can make all the difference there.

Woodall says they called Nashville after the mix-up to ensure that there's better communication about things like this in the future.

After all, accidental Amber Alerts make it harder for people to believe real ones.

"We take that responsibility very seriously to get that information out," Woodall said.