Child injured in chase, crash at Lambert airport dies

Caleb Lee, 9, died from injuries he sustained in a crash at Lambert Airport. A car police were chasing hit a vehicle he was in. Credit: KMOV

A 9-year-old child who was involved in a car crash at Lambert Airport in April has died.

Police said Caleb Lee died of injuries sustained in the crash that occurred April 25. Lee was a passenger in a car on Lambert International Boulevard when a car officers were chasing hit the vehicle Lee was in.

Authorities said they were chasing a vehicle that was taken in a carjacking earlier that day. The chase started on I-70, before the suspects exited at the airport.

Three others were inside the car with Lee. The driver, a 30-year-old woman, suffered possible broken bones. A 28-year-old woman in the front passenger seat suffered abrasions and lacerations. Sitting next to Lee was a 5-year-old boy, he was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Two suspects from the car being chased are in custody at the St. Louis County Family Courts.

Caleb was a student at Forder Elementary School. News 4 reached out the Mehlville School District and they said grief counselors with Annie's Hope Bereavement Center will be on hand at school for students and staff on Monday.

Annie's Hope is an organization that works with children 3-18 years old to help them understand and deal with death. Schools frequently call on them to help handle a tragedy in their community.

"There's a little bit in a panic because they're not sure how to address this," said Becky Burns, executive director and founder of Annie's Hope.

Caleb Lee's school knows the pain having dealt with his absence for nearly two weeks already.

Caleb's family was too heartbroken to talk to News 4 on-camera, but his aunt Lisa LaForrest sent us this statement:

"Our family is so saddened to say that Caleb Michael Lee passed away from his injuries this morning. Caleb loved playing soccer and video games. He recently fell in love with bike riding and was out having fun on his bike every chance he could get. He was a really great big brother. He was always taking care of Evan and teaching him new things."

Caleb's little brother Evan, who is 5 years old, is still in the hospital and having another surgery soon on his arm.

On Monday, Annie's Hope will use sensitive strategies to help students and staff absorb what's happened.

"We will not say 'pass away' or 'They're gone today.' Those are very confusing words and have mixed meanings in the way we use them in our vocabulary," said Burns.

When tragedies like this one make news headlines and are widely known, grief counselors make sure students know the truth. "Stick with facts, not the rumors that start coming up," said Burns.

The Lee family is looking for help with mounting medical bills. If you'd like to donate, refer to their GoFundMe Page.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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