Parents Who Welcomed Baby During Traffic Stop: We Had To Stop

By Mark Carlson, Reporter


By Mark Carlson

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa - The father who was pulled over for speeding while his wife delivered a baby in the passenger seat of their SUV, says he didn’t plan to stop until a red light and traffic forced him to.

“I should not stop, I’m not going to, I’m going to get to the hospital,” Tyler Rathjen, recalled of the feverous drive he made last Sunday night. He and his wife Ashley, both of Williamsburg, were just two blocks from Mercy Iowa City when their baby boy, Owen, was born at the corner of Jefferson and Gilbert Streets.

“I kept saying: there’s no break [in contractions] there’s no break,” Ashley Rathjen said. “He was coming at that time.”

Iowa City police officer Kevin Wolfe, who made the traffic stop, approached the car unaware of the urgency and found the baby’s head and arms were already out.

“We were all having a different experience,” Wolfe recalled of the moment.

Wolfe provided comfort and cover for the couple during the tense final stages of the delivery, Ashley said. He also helped wrap the baby and ensured he wasn’t in any immediate danger before escorting the couple to the hospital.

Baby Owen was born shortly after 10 p.m. He weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces and is doing very well at home with his two brothers, according to his parents.

“His brothers were worried it was going to take him a long time to get here, it didn’t,” Ashley said. “I’m sure it will be a life story to tell everybody [about] how he made his grand entrance.”

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