West Orange brothers fight for their lives following car accident

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange community is currently working to support the local Verducci family, whose two sons, Michael and Lawrence, both students at West Orange High School, were in a serious car accident on Oct. 27 in Franklin Borough.

On Oct. 31, the Verducci brothers’ cousin, Sherrie Stulec, started a GoFundMe page to help pay some of the medical costs. As of Nov. 5, more than $22,300 had been raised. The link is www.gofundme.com/f/the-verducci-brothers-car-accident?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet.

According to Stulec on the GoFundMe page, on Oct. 27, at approximately 7:10 p.m., Michael Verducci lost control of his vehicle in Franklin, crossed the road’s center line and ran off the road as the vehicle headed down a steep hill.

“The car hit traffic signs, struck an embankment and overturned three times before the vehicle hit a concrete wall and landed while continuing overturn,” Stulec wrote. “Upon impact, Lawrence was ejected 40 feet from the vehicle, shattering the foundation of the nearest property. Michael was found in the overturned vehicle with part of the retaining wall he just crashed into lodged into his skull.”

Stulec shared that both brothers sustained serious injuries in the accident.

“Lawrence has two broken legs, a collapsed lung, fractured hip, punctured liver that is losing a lot of blood and needs transfusion on a daily basis, punctured bladder, fractured base of skull cause bleeding on the brain, fractured face, fractured pelvis bone, air around his heart, deep cuts on his head, had four strokes and other underlying injuries,” she wrote. “Michael has a broken nose, fractured his skull, doctors found rocks and stones embedded into his brain from the retaining wall. Has two tubes in his head to drain the blood from his brain. He is now missing a piece of his skull, which needs to be replaced by a metal plate after six months of wearing a helmet. There is a possibility he will have brain damage. They are currently being intubated, heavily sedated and in critical condition in the ICU at Morristown Memorial Hospital.”

Luckily, there have been some improvements in Lawrence’s condition since the accident. On Nov. 2, Stulec updated that Lawrence was alert, trying to speak, and moving his arms, legs and toes.

“Larry is doing amazing!” she wrote on Nov. 3. “What a difference within the last 24 hours. He is alert, understands what’s being said when spoken to, trying so hard to talk and mouthing words. This evening they did find a large blood clot in his left leg. The doctors will be placing a filter in his groin to catch the blood clot since he cannot have blood thinners due to his liver bleeding. Larry will be taken off the breathing machine within the next 36 hours as well as the sedation. If all goes well, he will be transported to Kessler in West Orange within the next two weeks to start therapy. This is truly a miracle!”

Unfortunately, progress has been slower for Michael Verducci.

“Michael is still the same but did show improvements on this breathing; he is taking breaths before the machine,” Stulec wrote on Nov. 3. “Due to his brain injury Michael will need more time to recover. The doctors will try to lower his sedation and remove the breathing machine sometime this week if all continues to go well. Thank you all for your prayers and support! We couldn’t do it without you. Keep praying and having faith! The Verducci brothers will not give up, they are fighters!”

The West Orange School District is also encouraging community members to help the Verducci family, posting the GoFundMe page’s link to their Facebook page.

“It’s time to help our own!” the district wrote in its social media post. “The Verducci brothers were involved in a tragic car accident this past weekend and are both now in ICU fighting for their lives. Please click on the link below to help in any way you can and share to help spread the word.”

In addition to directing community members to the GoFundMe page, WOHS dedicated its Nov. 1 football win over Barringer, 52-21, to the Verducci brothers.

“Both Verducci brothers have had a tremendous impact on the community in which they reside,” the district stated. “Larry is also a member of the Mountaineer football squad. His teammates refused to leave the brothers behind and elected to dedicate the final games of the season to both Larry and his brother, Michael. The team put a brand new chip on its shoulder in the form of the Verducci brothers, and Larry and Michael very quickly became the heartbeat of this young, talented team.”