National News

Newcastle teen critically injured in crash has trach tube removed as recovery continues

Posted February 18, 2018 3:06 p.m. EST

— A Newcastle 16-year-old boy who is still at a metro hospital because of a mid-December crash that left him critically injured had a busy week in his recovery, his family posted online.

On Wednesday, Caleb Freeman's mother posted on the Facebook page Pray for Caleb that doctors removed his trach tube.

"We are excited to say the trach is officially out (and we may or may not have done a happy dance!!)," his mother wrote. "Please pray that everything goes smoothly as it heals completely."

On Friday, Caleb nodded his head up and down for "Yes" during an occupational therapy treatment. He's been able to give a thumbs up and reach for family members on command a few times, but the nod was his a clear sign that he could clearly respond to commands.

"This continues to tell us that Caleb can hear us and that there is good, strong activity in his brain," Caleb's father, Jeremy Freeman, posted. "God is healing him and helping him figure out things."

On Saturday, his mother posted that "it feels like we have gone 'back in time' with Caleb."

"We anticipate first words, first steps, first responses just like we did when he was a baby," Caleb's mother wrote on Facebook. "And, when he does something new or connects his mind with an action, we celebrate like crazy (I wish we had recorded the celebration today when he lifted his leg on command because I'm sure it was quite entertaining)."

In recent weeks, Caleb has shown other signs of improvement. Earlier this month, he was able to lie on his stomach for the first time since the crash and, in early January, he opened his eyes for first time.

Caleb was injured when he merged onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 from State Highway 9 when he lost control of a 2005 Dodge pickup truck, according to an accident report. The truck hit a semi-truck, and Caleb was pinned inside the vehicle for about 20 minutes before being freed by members of the Goldsby Fire Department.

The 16-year-old boy was taken to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City in critical condition. Caleb's brother, 14-year-old Clayton, was injured in the crash but is expected to be OK.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers cited driving too fast on a slippery road as the reason for the crash.

Anyone who wants to follow Caleb's recovery can do so on the Pray for Caleb Facebook page.