Troopers help deliver baby boy on shoulder of I-57

CHICAGO (WLS) -- State troopers helped deliver a baby boy on I-57 Sunday when a woman in labor could not make it to the hospital in time.

After helping deliver a baby on the shoulder of I-57, Illinois State Trooper Edgar Valdez De Leon is pictured with Carter Lee Smothers, mother Stacey Watkins and father Curtis Lee.

"When my water broke, he was coming out, so I started pushing," Stacey Watkins said.

Her Hyundai Sonata was on the northbound side of I-57 late Saturday night as Carter Lee Smothers decided that it was time to enter the world.

"I am inside the car, but of course, you know the baby has to come out, so my legs, he's kinda in the, open in the air," she said.

Watkins had gone to the University of Chicago Hospital earlier in the evening with labor pains, but was sent home. It wasn't an hour later before she was headed back with her brother behind the wheel, with her fiance along as well. They pulled over at 111th Street, where Illinois State Troopers were conducting a traffic stop.

"I love my sister, she's a strong woman. But at that point, I knew she couldn't take it no more," said Roland Watkins, her brother.

Her brother ran to Trooper Edgar Valdez De Leon, a former Marine.

"I was like one leg into the car, you were just kind of like playing football, you know.
Just waiting for the baby to come out catching the baby," he said.

His partner, Trooper Michael Vodicka, passed him supplies and blankets from their medical kit.

"He was so hands-on and attentive," Watkins said. "My fiancé was just kind of staring."

"I was like, let's get to the hospital. I didn't know what to do out there," her fiancé said.

"Throughout my lifetime I have had plenty of experiences, but never anything that compares to this," Trooper De Leon said.

"They took me out of the car, placed me in the ambulance and put baby Carter in the other ambulance and after that, everything went kinda quick after that," Watkins said.

Trooper Valdez De Leon visited with Stacey and little Carter Sunday, and what's interesting is the adults both said the calm the other brought to the situation helped them both.

So please, when you see troopers pulled over to the side of the road, slow down, move over and give them space. They may be saving a life -- or helping usher in a new one.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.