Teen helps siblings, mother from burning van

Family members expected to make full recovery

FRANKFORT, Ind. - A 13-year-old boy is being credited with helping his younger siblings and mother from their burning van after a crash on a central Indiana highway.

The Clinton County sheriff's office says a car crossed the center line of Indiana 39 near Frankfort and collided with the family's van Sunday afternoon. The car's driver, 24-year-old Cassandra Luehrs, died at the scene.

The van, driven by 39-year-old Kian Cleefman of Frankfort, caught fire and her five children scrambled to get out.

Ten-year-old Karina Castaneda tells the Journal & Courier  that her brother Kaleb Siebert carried out their 6-year-old and 3-year-old siblings. Kaleb Siebert also helped their mother out after her pants caught on fire.

Siebert broke his collarbone in the impact, but somehow managed to loosen the seatbelts and carry the girls to safety. Within moments, the family's van was incinerated.

"I didn't feel the impact. I didn't feel the airbag. I just felt my mom shaking me and saying get out of the car," Kaleb Siebert said. "I don't think it was me that got my sisters out of there. I think God helped me because there's no way in the natural that someone could have lifted those sisters with a broken collarbone and that fire and not felt it.

Family members said sister Kassidy Castaneda had a fracture and dislocated shoulder and his mother was in fair condition at an Indianapolis burn center. She is expected to make a full recovery.

"It's definitely a miracle, especially after seeing the pictures, it became real. Like wow, my family was in there. Thank you lord for your protection," said Aunt Hanna Esteban.

The accident remains under investigation.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

Print this article Back to Top