August 18, 2015
By Myles Ma
PATERSON — The family of a 13-year-old who was pronounced brain dead Sunday after a crash on Interstate 80 says the boy has since shown signs of life.
Michael Lavecchia Sr., the grandfather of Michael “Mikey” Lavecchia III, said he saw movement in his grandson’s leg, shoulder and head Monday at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Michael “Mikey” Lavecchia III, at his graduation from South Middle School in Brentwood, N.Y. (Courtesy of Doreen Lleras)
Mikey, his father Michael Jr. and 14-year-old Giovanni Lavoy were riding in a Honda CRV that crashed Saturday into a Mack truck parked on the shoulder of I-80 East in Wayne. Michael Jr. and Giovanni, the younger brother of Michael Jr.’s fiancee, died Saturday, New Jersey State Police said.
Mikey was pronounced brain dead Sunday at 11:55 a.m., State Police said. He was being kept on life support until his organs could be donated, Lavecchia Sr. said.
Mikey’s mother, Laureen Lavecchia, kept a vigil over Mikey Sunday night while doctors looked for someone to receive his organs, Lavecchia Sr. said. That’s when she first saw him move, he said.
Hernandez and Levacchia Sr. had the death certificate destroyed Monday night after seeing Mikey move, Lavecchia Sr. said.
Lavecchia Sr. said a neurologist had never seen his grandson at St. Joseph’s. They were waiting Tuesday for a neurologist to assess him.
“All they were interested in, in my opinion, was using his organs,” he said. “If his mother didn’t stay there all night they would have taken him off life support.”
A spokeswoman for St. Joseph’s declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws.
The family hopes on Tuesday to move Mikey to Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, New York, close to the Lavecchias’ home town of Central Islip on Long Island.
“It’s supposed to be one of the best trauma hospitals and we know very good doctors there,” Lavecchia Sr. said.
Michael Jr., his fiancee Alicia, Mikey and 5-year-old Travis Lavecchia had just moved to East Stroudsburg, Pa., Michael Jr.’s aunt, Doreen Lleras, said. Giovanni, Alicia’s 14-year-old brother, had come to visit their new home, which has a pool, Lleras said.
Michael Jr. was driving with Mikey and Giovanni back to Long Island, where he still worked in construction, when the crash took place.
Michael Lavecchia Jr. holds his son Travis, 5. (Courtesy of Doreen Lleras)
Mikey, an avid Mets fan, was deciding which high school to attend in East Stroudsburg. The decision rested on which school had the best baseball program, Lleras said.
State Police said they were investigating “drug paraphernalia” found in Michael Jr.’s pocket. Lleras adamantly denied that Michael Jr. abused drugs.
Michael Jr. had been recently prescribed a muscle relaxant for a muscle strain, Lleras said. State Police Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams declined to go into further detail on the paraphernalia.
Lleras described her nephew Michael Jr. as a dedicated family man and a hard worker. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Thomas P. Walsh Funeral Home in Central Islip Funeral Home. A mass is scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. John of God church, also in Central Islip, followed by burial.
Arrangements are pending for Giovanni, Lleras said.
“He was a happy-go-lucky child that loved dancing and loved music,” she said.
Lavecchia Sr. said he is praying for a miracle for his grandson. The two were close, having just taken a trip to Florida, where Mikey got former Met pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden’s autograph.
“I’m hopeful there’s a miracle in the working,” he said. “I’ve been praying for it. We all have been. That little boy–I can’t afford to lose that little boy. He was everything to me.”
Vinessa Erminio contributed reporting.