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Utah dad delivers baby in car with dispatcher's help

Published November 2, 2012 12:01 pm

Emergency • On the freeway, a fearful father pulls over to help his wife.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Arturo Pozo was born on Saturday surrounded by love, a towel and the sounds of traffic on Interstate 15.

Thanks to level heads on both ends of a 911 call in the minutes leading up to his birth, Arturo was successfully delivered by his father in the front seat of his parents' minivan, about two miles from the American Fork Hospital.

Carlos Pozo called Orem 911 dispatch as he was driving his wife Faralee to the hospital from their Spanish Fork home. One day after her due date, her water had broken at home and she was going into labor fast. His conversation with dispatcher Julie Benson was recorded on an audio tape provided by the Orem Police Department.

"I don't know what to do," he told dispatcher Julie Benson while his wife moaned in the background.

"Are you going to pull over so I can help you deliver the baby or are you going to keep driving?" Benson asked.

Pozo wanted to keep driving, but he knew what the answer was going to be.

"I was like, 'Alright, I just have to do it. I can't run away from this,'" Pozo said in an interview from his home Thursday.

On the tape, Benson can be heard asking Pozo how close the baby was to making an entrance. When Pozo told her he could see the baby's head, Benson told him to stop driving and start delivering. So he pulled over less than a mile from the Pleasant Grove/American Fork exit.

Benson then told one of the other dispatchers to send emergency medical technicians. In an interview Thursday, Benson said Pozo was calm and followed her instructions well.

"I think he just wanted to have somebody there for a little reassurance," she said.

Benson talked Pozo through the process, telling him to find some towels and get a shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord. In the 13 years she's worked as a 911 dispatcher, Benson has helped deliver babies over the phone, but never while the car was on a freeway.

"That was new for everybody," she said.

Arturo, all 9 pounds and 11 ounces of him, was born safely with the help of some Orem EMTs who arrived just in time. Carlos helped deliver the baby's head then let the EMTs take over, he said.

"I was like, 'Phew! I'll let you guys do your job,'" Pozo said. "I just took pictures after that."

His wife and new son, the couple's third child, were taken by ambulance to the hospital but have since gone home and are doing well. As he followed the ambulance in his minivan, Pozo was ready for some recovery of his own.

"I was a little light-headed, but mostly grateful," he said.

Pozo joked that Arturo barely missed getting another name after his exciting birth.

"We wanted to name him Miles," his father said, "because he was born miles from the hospital."

kbennion@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KimballBennion