Arizona highway trooper Miguel Rincon had just pulled over a speeding driver Saturday when another car pulled up behind him.
The driver asked Mr. Rincon to call an ambulance because her granddaughter, who had only been in labor for an hour and a half, was about to give birth. But before Rincon could reach the car, Courtney Benavidez had given birth to a baby boy. Instincts kicking in, Rincon grabbed a blanket for the newborn.
"I was just in shock, and I couldn't believe it," Ms. Benavidez told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "I think I went pale."
Named Carter Jett, for how quickly he was born, the baby boy and Benavidez were taken to the local hospital, but released the next day in good health.
"I'm just absolutely thankful and blessed because things could have gone down south very quickly, and I'm just thankful that everything turned out OK," Benavidez said.
Over the past few years, roadside births have become more common. “Centers for Disease Control birth records show an almost 20 percent spike since 2009 in baby deliveries outside homes, hospitals and clinics,” NBC Chicago reported in 2013.
This increase could be attributed to increasing traffic and construction work. More women are also opting for more distant doctors and hospitals, according to the American Congress of OB-GYNs.
And just this year there have been several accounts of births en route to the hospital from across the country.
In January, a Los Angeles husband helped his wife deliver a baby boy on the side of the road. "It was game on," father Brad Sanchez told NBC Los Angeles. "My son was already halfway out by the time I got over there, so all I had to do was catch him."
In February, a pregnant mother in Utah pulled over on her way to the hospital and gave birth to a healthy 9.9-pound baby boy. Utah highway patrol trooper Jalaine Hawkes, who responded at the scene, told Fox News that “roadside births happen occasionally in the state, especially in rural areas where it’s harder to get to a hospital quickly.”
Fortunately all three women’s roadside births were free from complications. All first responders, including paramedics, police officers, and firefighters, are trained on how to deliver babies and treat mothers who are in labor or who have just given birth.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.