Boy, 13, saves sisters from burning van

Boy, 13, saves sisters from burning van

Burning Vanby Fox59
ReporterA 13-year-old boy says his mother and his faith in God helped give him courage to rescue his sisters from a fiery car accident during the weekend.

A car crossed over the center line on Indiana 39, north of Frankfort on Sunday afternoon. It collided with a minivan which burst into flames. The driver of the car, 24-year-old Cassandra Luehers, died in the crash.

The driver of the minivan, 39-year-old Kian Cleefman, sustained first and second degree burns on roughly 12-15 percent of her body, but she managed to escape. She directed her son about what to do next.

“Always keep your faith because God is able,” said 13-year-old Kaleb Siebert, as he explained how he kept his composure during the crash.

Siebert said he was sleeping prior to impact.

“I didn’t feel the impact, I didn’t feel the airbag, any of that,” Siebert said. “The only thing I felt is my mom shaking me and telling me to get out of the car. I was the first one out of the car and then my mom came out on fire.”

Kaleb’s 10 and 11-year-old sisters managed to get out as well. Their mother began rolling in the ditch to try to put out the fire on her body. At that moment, she put her faith in her son, telling him to help his two sisters who were still in the van.

“My mom said, ‘Go and get your little sisters’ and he went to get us,” said 6-year-old Klarissa Castaneda.

Klarissa and 3-year-old Kloee Castaneda were trapped in their child seats.

“It was all scary,” Klarissa said.

But it wasn’t scary for long.

“He knew that he had to help his little sisters,” said 10-year-old Karina Castaneda. “He jumped in through the flames and he got Kloee and Klarissa.”

“I remember it being pitch black, with black smoke and silence,” Kaleb said. “So I had to feel my way around to get the girls out.”

“I was worried if he was going to be okay or not,” said 11-year-old Kassidy Siebert. “But I knew that God would be with us.”

Though their van was burned beyond recognition, Kaleb and his sisters emerged without burns, instead they suffered bruises and two breaks caused by their seatbelts during impact.

“They said, ‘It may have broken your collarbone but it probably also saved your life,’” Siebert said.

There’s no doubt Kaleb saved his sisters’ lives, but he said he’d trade the hero title to have his mom back from the hospital. Besides, he said, he was simply following his faith in God.

“I don’t deserve all the praise and glory for getting them out, He does,” Kaleb said. “He was the one who gave me that extra strength and motivation to get them out.”

Kian Cleefman continues to recover at the Wishard burn unit in Indianpolis. The family hopes to welcome her home next week.

Categories: Faith, Headlines, U.S.

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