KETTERING, Ohio – A woman rushing to a hospital to give birth hit a few stops along the way – first at a gas station where she delivered the baby herself, then when confused police ordered her out of the car at gunpoint.
Debbie Coleman, whose 3- and 4-year-old daughters were asleep in the back seat, pulled over at a gas station just after midnight Tuesday.
“I asked if she needed help, and she just leaned back in the seat, hollered a little, and I looked down and there was the baby’s head,” said station co-owner Lloyd Goff, who was alerted to the emergency at pump No. 7 by a customer.
Goff said Coleman “threw her leg over the steering wheel, groaned once, and the rest of the baby came out.
“She caught that baby, put it to her chest, gave me a look, like, ‘I gotta go,’ closed the door, put the van in gear and away she went.”
A customer at the gas station in suburban Dayton tried to give police a heads-up about Coleman’s situation, but a mix-up involving the license plate number had them thinking the van was stolen.
As officers went looking for her, Coleman headed for the hospital, naked below the waist and with the baby boy in her arm. His umbilical cord was still attached.
“I kept pulling over, making sure (the baby) was all right, breathing,” she said.
Meanwhile, police had straightened out the license plate issue. But another caller mistakenly reported someone trying to throw a baby from a van.
Coleman said she noticed several cruisers following her before one cut her off. With guns drawn, officers ordered her out of the van with her hands up.
“I opened the door and said, ‘I just had a baby’ and just let them see everything,” she said.
Officers sent Coleman on and let the hospital know she was coming.
Coleman was discharged Wednesday. Her 6-pound, 8-ounce son, Richard Lee Coleman Jr., remained in intensive care.