Josh L. Pacheco wanted to go to college and play football, but he gave up his dream to care for his disabled brother.
Josh Pacheco, 26, fed, bathed and entertained John Pacheco Jr., 30, without a “word of complaint,” said David Perez, an uncle.
“Josh made the decision to be a full-time caregiver because his mother was no longer able to lift and hold John up,” Perez said.
The whole family is struggling with Josh Pacheco's death Sunday in a traffic crash. But John Pacheco, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, is taking it particularly hard, Perez said.
“He lost his best friend. How do you get over that?”
Sgt. Joe Collins, an Omaha police spokesman, said Joshua Pacheco died in a one-vehicle crash about 2:45 a.m. Sunday at 24th Street and Interstate 80. He was passenger in a 2000 Buick Century driven by his sister's fiance, Matthew R. Fleshman, 22, of Omaha.
Funeral arrangements for Josh Pacheco are pending. Donations to help the family with funeral expenses can be made to the Josh Pacheco memorial fund and deposited at any U.S. Bank location.
Perez said he's not sure where Fleshman and his nephew were before the crash, but they appeared to be headed home.
A spokeswoman for the Creighton University Medical Center said Fleshman remained in critical condition Monday. Fleshman and Angelica Pacheco have a 2-year-old daughter and another child on the way.
“This whole thing has really hit our family really hard,” Perez said. “I feel like Matt is my nephew, too. He's really a good kid.”
Josh Pacheco and his older brother are both large men at about 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Perez said. That's a key reason why it made so much sense for Josh be the caregiver, he said.
“I was over (at the house) yesterday and I had a hard time lifting John,” Perez said. “Josh basically gave up his own life to be with his brother. He would carry John around like a big sack of potatoes.”
Because John Pacheco's mobility was limited to his hands and head, the brothers spent a lot of time listening to music and playing video games, Perez said. Family gatherings were another outlet.
“Josh loved being with family, and wherever he went, John went,” Perez said. “(Josh) was already looking forward to our family Christmas party.”
In addition to his brother and sister, Josh Pacheco is survived by his mother and step-father, Christy and Al “Gordy” Howe; and father, John Pacheco Sr. of Chicago.