ST. GEORGE – When Justin Ross telephoned his friends, Tanner Holt, Jordan Chapman, Alex Metzger and Colby Hafen, at 1:10 a.m. on May 26 to tell them he had decided not to join up with them to go to Mesquite, he had no idea it would be the last time he ever spoke with them – or that his decision to not go may have saved his own life. “I was the last one to talk to them,” Ross said.
Ross had spent most of the evening on May 25, with Holt, Chapman, Metzger and Hafen.
“We were at a house just having some fun,” Ross said. “You know, everyone was just kind of hanging out, then one of my buddies was having a party at his house and we were on our way over there –and we ended up getting pulled over.”
A Washington City police officer had run Chapman’s plates and pulled the car over for lack of insurance. Ross said they were pulled over at the Hart’s gas station in Washington in the area of Albertson’s and Home Depot. Ross said that Chapman apologized to the officer for not having insurance, that he had just bought his car on Monday.
“And in the meantime, while the cop was running his license and everything, we came up with the idea, ‘guys, let’s just go to Mesquite and just skip out on going to that party,’ and so all of just agreed to go to Mesquite.”
While they were waiting for the officer to finish what he was doing, Ross decided not to go with the guys to Mesquite.
A friend of his, Allie Davis, who he had planned to get together with, happened to be on her way to Wal-mart at the time. So she came and picked up Ross, and the other four guys headed to Mesquite.
“So me and Allie were driving around,” Ross said, and “Tanner called and said ‘dude, don’t you want to go to Mesquite with us? You should come.’
“So I asked Allie – she agreed.
“So I was like, let me call you back I’ll let you know.
“We were turning off bluff street onto the freeway,” Ross said. “Something ran through me that said ‘Justin, don’t go,’ and those guys were on the freeway, so I ended up calling those guys back and telling them we’re not going to go – and I think that’s why they ended up taking that plane, because there were just four of them – if I would’ve ended up going with them they probably would’ve ended up just driving there.”
Ross said with certainty that he called the guys at 1:10 a.m. he repeated that it was 1:10 a.m. when he called them to tell them he was not going with them to Mesquite.
He said that was the last time he talked to them.
Ross has been a good friend with all four guys killed in the plane crash from one to two years each.
“We were really good volleyball friends, we’d go to the lake, lay out by the pool, we were just always doing something fun.”
He said they have partied together, but he does not remember any time that they were not responsible doing so.
Before the guys left the first party, which had 17-20 people including Ross and the four, Ross said that they were “pre-gaming” for the other party. “I know Tanner had a couple shots of alcohol. Jordan was the only one who was not drinking, because I actually offered him a thing of alcohol and he said ‘no, I’m driving, I’m designated driver (moving his hands in sign language to show the “driving” gesture Jordan had given him).” He said he knows Holt had two shots of something like Southern Comfort because they had them together, but could not say if Holt had any more than those. He said Metzger and Hafen were drinking also. He said there was no alcohol in the car with them when they left the party.
Ross said he has seen speculation that the four headed to a game in San Diego.
“I know they were not going to San Diego because we were all going to San Diego in the morning and we had rented a van. Alex had rented a van to go to San Diego on Saturday – we was going to leave right after my buddy Kazj Briggs got off work at 3 p.m. Kazj is one of our friends, we was actually at his house, that’s where we were at when we was drinking.”
Ross said he thinks that maybe they decided to fly to Mesquite because they had just been pulled over for no insurance, and they were partying and having a good time and decided, ‘let’s just fly there.’ He said that Tanner did fly that same plane out to Phoenix with a couple friends to visit him last weekend.
Ross said that he doesn’t know one person that doesn’t like these kids:
“They were all friends and they always put a smile on people’s faces, they always brightened up a room when they walk through the door. I am extremely sad for the loss of these four, and my prayers are going out to the families of each of them.
“These were the happiest kids alive, they were social, they knew everybody, they were just the happiest people alive.”
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.