PATERSON - The family of a 13-year-old boy critically injured in a car crash over the weekend says they believe he is still alive, despite being declared brain dead.
Michael Edward LeVecchia III was badly injured in a crash on Interstate 80 in Wayne over the weekend. His father, Michael LeVecchia Jr., and another teenager died from their injuries.
St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson declared the teen brain dead. He was being kept on life support so doctors could donate his organs. However, his family had the death certificate ripped up after they observed his leg moving. They also say Michael seems to be responding to pain.
"There's a toe damaged on his foot," says mother Laureen LaVecchia. "That's a response to pain. Even though they're teling me that there's no activity, there's something there."
The family says that they are trying not to blame the hospital, but they do question whether Michael's doctors rushed the death ruling.
"My son is alive," says Laureen LaVecchia.
Michael has been transferred to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. News 12 New Jersey's calls to St. Joseph's Hospital for comment were not returned.