Picking up the phone and hearing her son’s frantic, screaming voice on the other end, Bambi Vazquez could not fathom the news, breaking down.

Bambi Vazquez, left, and her son, Javier Vazquez, enjoy time during a visit to DisneyWorld this past spring.

“‘We all have been hit, and they are not breathing,’” Jason Vazquez yelled to his mother, describing the status of his 20-year-old brother, Javier Vazquez, and his friend Travis LaRowe, 22, after an accident on June 16 on New Haven Road in Naugatuck. LaRowe was killed and Javier Vazquez was left in critical but stable condition at Yale New Haven Hospital. The three were riding motorcycles at around 8:45 that night.

Javier Vazquez was riding a 2015 Honda Grom when he was struck by the vehicle.

Since the accident, Javier Vazquez’s mother has not left his side, staying in a suite next to the hospital and spending 10 to 12 hours a day caring for her son.

“Every day is a challenge,” she said as she looked in the distance outside the hospital on a gloomy Monday, preferring not to elaborate on details of her son’s specific care. “There is so much going on in his little body.”

Javier Vazquez, who is 5-foot-2 with a thin frame, still faces challenges, but his family says they are hopeful he will recover fully.

Bambi Vazquez, a manager at Arby’s for 22 years, said her positive attitude keeps her going, a personality attribute her son also embodies.

“He will tell you if he is having a bad day, but it won’t kill the mood,” said Allan Carvalho, a longtime friend of Javier Vazquez. He will goof off and talk about something else.”

Sebastian Caldarone-Markiewicz, another friend, said if Javier Vazquez gets angry, it is not for a long time.

“He is the life of the party,” he said. “He never sits still. He is always going out and trying to make everyone laugh. He is there for you in a heartbeat if you need anything.”

Asked if there is something that keeps her calm in the uncertainty, Bambi Vazquez said it is the people in the community who have rallied behind her and her family, bringing food, visiting, and checking in regularly on her son.

Naugatuck police said Tuesday the accident remains under investigation.

Carol DeBernardis, 76, of Naugatuck, was driving south on New Haven Road in her 2004 Honda Accord on June 16 “when preliminary evidence indicates the vehicle crossed into the northbound lane, sideswiped another vehicle and struck two motorcycles in the northbound lane of New Haven Road,” police said.

Jason Vazquez, 24, was also struck when he attempted to take evasive actions to avoid the collision.

He suffered minor injuries in the crash. Jason declined to be interviewed for this story.

Vazquez says Jason jokes that his brother has nine lives and his fearless attitude keeps him trying new things.

“He keeps me on my toes,” Vazquez laughs, recalling how when Javier was 4 years old, he got into a bicycle accident where he was pierced with a stick, which came within two centimeters from striking his heart.

Vazquez said that when Javier was little, he used to wear shirts that read, “I do my own stunts,” signifying his love for adventure.

She said her son is a fighter.

“I tell the doctors they are wrong,” she said. “He is going to prove you wrong.”

Carvalho said Javier is also stubborn.

“He is always pushing through,” he said. “If he can’t find a way, he will think of another way.”

Every day Vazquez said at least 15 people visit Javier, including those she doesn’t know, explaining her son’s outgoing personality in the community, especially in his line of work as a mechanic at Monro Autoservice and Tire Centers on Wolcott Street in Waterbury.

“If he sees someone in the street stuck, he will go and help them,” said Genessis Sanchez, his girlfriend of four years.

Carvalho said Javier enjoys his work, breaking cars down to their shells and rebuilding them.

“It is an art,” he said.

Vazquez said that her son has always been fascinated with cars since he was a child.

Caldarone-Markiewicz said Javier Vazquez conveys his passion for cars in many ways.

If he gets the part for a vehicle at the end of the day, he will stay late and finish it and, on the weekends, he said, he will answer requests to help his friends and family with their cars.

A lover of Spanish and rap music, Javier has a goofy and sarcastic sense of humor that cheers up others, his family and friends said.

Vazquez said she is proud of her son for his hard work ethic and character. “He can overcome everything,” she said.

Medical expenses are a challenge for the family. Friends have started a GoFund page for those expenses at

Donations can also be dropped off at Riddle’s Pub, 419 N. Main St., Naugatuck.