An Iowa woman and her husband sped to the hospital because she was in labor, and they didn’t bother stopping the car when police followed them, sirens wailing. Only after a spike strip flattened their tires did the couple get out, surrounded by officers with guns drawn.
It was the middle of the night, and Ben and Rachel Kohnen hopped in the car and headed to the hospital because their baby was on the way. A police officer noted when the car sped by that they were going 85 mph (in a 55 mph zone), so he flicked on his sirens and headed out in pursuit.
Only the couple didn’t stop. Rachel told her husband that the baby was coming right now and they had to make it to the hospital. She was not interested in having the baby, their fourth, in their car. In the meantime, the pursuing officer called for backup, and by the time the couple thought to dial 911 to explain what was going on, it was too late. The call was made well after they made the decision to disregard their own safety, the safety of the officers and anyone who was unlucky enough to be in their path. The cops had thrown down spike strips, which flattened their tires and finally forced them to stop.
When they got out, hands in the air, they were surrounded by police officers wielding guns as Rachel suffered through another contraction. Once the officers realized what was going on, they escorted them to the hospital, and they don’t plan on pressing charges. Rachel gave birth an hour later to a healthy baby girl they named Hazel, who weighed nearly 10 pounds.
I get it. I’ve “rushed” to the hospital several times myself while in labor, and I usually feel a sense of panic during the trip, like I’m not going to get there in time. It is never a true emergency, though, and I’ve always arrived well before the baby was in any danger of being born right this minute. So, while I can understand the true panic and emergency of a baby being born while in transit, I can’t say that I would ever think it’s a good idea to lead police on a high-speed chase while I was in active labor.
Birthing in a vehicle is not ideal, but neither is putting yourself and others in danger. While the Kohnens’ experience was in the middle of the night, they still could have hit an animal or an obstacle and flipped their car over, or unhappily met someone on the road who was traveling to or from a late-night shift at work. And leading police on a chase doesn’t put you in a good light — they really don’t know what’s going on, and it’s possible you’ll get shot.
I know that sometimes logic flies out the window, especially if you think your baby is on its way out right that minute, but please don’t make the police chase you down and pop all your tires to get you to stop. While this story had a happy ending, it may not have been so happy if everything hadn’t all gone this family’s way.