PHOENIX -- Little Regina Baez’s face is beautiful and tranquil. You would never know the wild way the newborn baby girl came into this world just after 7:15 Tuesday morning.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety was responding to a multiple car collision on the I-10 near 43rd Avenue. Another car, uninvolved in the crash pulled in behind DPS vehicles.
Inside Darinka Baez was well into her labor. Her sister, who was driving, pulled the car over to get help from DPS, because they knew Baez would not make it to the hospital in time.
DPS Officer Jason Knox, normally in the Firearms Training Unit, heard a call from the officer responding to that scene.
“I heard a call on my way to work that a woman was in labor on the side of the interstate,” said Knox.
Knox was nearby and has an EMT background, so he decided to respond to the call. He found Baez in the front passenger seat.
“I asked her if her water had broken. She said yes,” Knox said.
Knox gently moved the seat down to make Baez more comfortable, and was prepared to deliver the baby. In the meantime, Station 24 from the Phoenix Fire Department arrived.
“I see this lady lying there on her back and she’s ready to deliver,” said Troy Holtrof with the Phoenix Fire Department.
Holtrof and two other firefighters helped move Baez into their ambulance.
“We loaded her up into the ambulance and she delivered on the way to the hospital,” said Jim Cook, also a firefighter with the Phoenix Fire Department.
“I was the guy that cut the cord. I’m grabbing the clamps and the scalpel as we’re driving and things are bouncing around,” said Holtrof.
Firefighters estimate Baez spent just one minute in the ambulance before Regina was born on 1-10 in route to the hospital.
The entire thing, from the first call by DPS to the birth, took just seven minutes.
Baez and her new baby were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where doctors gave both a clean bill of health. Regina weighed in at just over 6 pounds.
Baez was not ready for an interview Tuesday, but she says of her daughter, “She is beautiful.”