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Crash victims reunite with first responders after miraculous recovery

Kirsten and Elias Strebe met the responders for the first time after suffering extensive injuries in the crash


The Strebe family met the responders over a year after siblings Kirsten and Elias Strebe suffered life-threatening injuries in a rollover crash.


By EMS1 Staff

SALEM, Mo. — A family reunited with the first responders who helped save the lives of two teenagers.

The Salem News Online reported that the Strebe family met the responders at the Salem Memorial District Hospital over a year after siblings Kirsten and Elias Strebe suffered life-threatening injuries in a rollover crash.

Both children suffered brain bleeding and skull fractures, and Elias still suffers from expressive aphasia, which deters his speech. Kirsten suffers short-term memory loss and total hearing loss on her right side.

At the time of the crash, the two were flown to the hospital by Lifeline pilots and brothers Bryan and Mike McCart and nurse Jonathan Stenger. The flight crew landed at the hospital for the reunion, this time inviting them inside the helicopter as smiling passengers.

“I’ve been flying EMS for nine years now,” McCart said. “I can honestly say I appreciate you reaching out to us and asking us to come back. This is the first time I’ve ever come back to meet a patient we have flown.”

The teen’s grandfather, Jerry Heyn, expressed his gratitude for the work of the responders.

“I’m not an extremely religious man, at least I wasn’t,” Heyn said. “But I will tell you that after this event and finding out what everyone did, you can rest assured that every single night before I go to bed I say a prayer for every first responder, every medical technician, nurse, doctor ... I just thank them, and I pray for the safety of everyone involved. You never know what the next hour will bring, and I pray my hardest for every one of you.”

Highway patrolmen Jeff Leathers and corporal Kyle Wilmont, who responded to the crash, attended the reunion, as well as Teresa Click, Jamie Dunn and Reagan Hendricks, another flight crew who transported Elias when he had seizures.

“What you guys do is incredible. We are so grateful,” the siblings’ mom, Julie, said. “This is what your work has done. I want you to know how much that matters.”