‘God had different timing for me’: Off-duty EMT pulls Iowa woman from burning van


ALTON, Iowa (KCAU) — It was a typical Thursday evening for Amy Cleveringa, driving her daughter home from volleyball practice in Sheldon in northwest Iowa. At around 5 p.m. and just minutes away from home, the off-duty EMT found she had another purpose that night.

“I had turned and looked and saw a van and semi coming northbound, and at that time, you’ll see right over here, the semi was actually trying to turn and come down this gravel road and unfortunately, the van did not see him slowing down and she ran right into the back of him,” said Cleveringa.

Michael Nelson, of Crescent, Iowa, was driving that semi pulling a cattle trailer. Kayleen Stallman, of Denison, hit the trailer from behind causing her minivan to burst in flames.

But that would not be the end of this story.

“I felt for a pulse, she had a pulse. Unfortunately, she was not responding. At that time, I had looked at the semi driver and said, her only chance of survival is if we pull her from this vehicle,” said Cleveringa.

Together, they pulled Stallman through the driver’s side window.

“Amazingly enough and by the grace of God, she became responsive as we were pulling her from the car,” said Cleveringa. “How this happened, this call will stick with me longer than most calls do and I already know that this call has been probably one of the hardest calls I’ve actually been on.”

Cleveringa has been an EMT in Alton for 17 years but said no amount of training could have ever prepared her for this day.

“This is not how I would normally respond to an accident scene. And fortunately, yesterday, God had different timing for me. He obviously needed me there quicker than what my response time would have been, coming in the ambulance,” said Cleveringa.

The two women managed to exchange brief words before Stallman was rushed from the scene by ambulance.

Cleveringa says they will reunite but under much less stressful conditions.

“I hope our paths cross again and we’re able to follow up on this,” said Cleveringa.

Stallman was taken to Orange City Area Health and later flown to MercyOne hospital in Sioux City for further treatment. Her condition is not known at this time.

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