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12-04-08, 09:25 PM #1
"Please officer, my wife is in labor." "That's no excuse to use the breakdown lane in bumper to bumper traffic. But I will mail you this $100 ticket"
All too often, the congested roads of Greater Boston conspire with the vagaries of childbirth to leave a mother-to-be in a car on the roadside at one of life's most critical moments. A hard-bitten state trooper shows up and morphs into a highway midwife, clearing the newborn's nose and mouth, cutting the cord, and sometimes even saving a life.
This is not one of those stories.
Jennifer Davis was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Nov. 18, her contractions just 3 minutes apart. Her husband, John, was trying to appear calm for his wife's sake, driving in the breakdown lane of Route 2. They pulled up behind a state trooper to ask whether they could continue using the lane to reach the next exit, near Alewife Station.
Not only did the trooper say no, he gave them a $100 citation for driving in the breakdown lane, made them wait for their citation while he finished writing someone else's ticket, and even seemed to ask for proof of pregnancy, Jennifer Davis said.
"He said, 'What's under your jacket?' I said, 'My belly,' " Davis said. "He waited and gestured with his head like, 'OK, let's see it.' He waited for me to unzip my jacket. I mean, it was so clear that I was pregnant."
The Davises say the contretemps occurred after two other troopers they encountered had waved them along in the highway breakdown lane, allowing them to evade gridlock while advising them to be cautious and keep their hazard lights on.
While State Police spokesman David Procopio declined to comment on the merits of this stop, he noted that state law prohibits driving in breakdown lanes on Route 2.
"The trooper made a judgment call to enforce the law governing the use of the breakdown lane," said Procopio. "If the couple does choose to submit a letter of complaint, we'll review it in accordance with our procedure."
The officer who gave the citation - Trooper Michael Galluccio of the Brighton barracks, according to his identification number - could not immediately be reached for comment.
Though the Davises live about 30 miles away in Dracut, Jennifer Davis, 38, wanted to have her baby at Mount Auburn, where she had also given birth to her 7-year-old son, Brendan.
"For 10 months we had been saying, 'As long as I don't go into labor during rush hour' - which we did," said Davis, a social worker for a visiting nurse group affiliated with the hospital.
They left for Cambridge after dropping Brendan off at school. Her contractions were about 5 minutes apart.
But the roads were so clogged that John Davis began using the breakdown lane. Davis - whose driving record has six speeding violations over the past 20 years, according to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles - said he tried to get troopers' permission to use the emergency lanes when they encountered them along their journey.
On Route 3, he pulled over and told a trooper that his wife was in labor. The trooper said they could use the breakdown lane only when traffic was backed up and only while using their hazard lights. On Route 128, they got stopped by a second trooper who allowed them to continue in the breakdown lane after noticing the infant car seat in the back of their Honda Accord and the mother's condition.
"I know people fabricate stories all the time," Jennifer Davis said, "but it was pretty clear that I was in labor."
Once on Route 2, they pulled up behind the trooper who ultimately cited them, who was attending to a car in the emergency lane.
He asked at least twice if they wanted an ambulance, but they declined, Jennifer Davis said. "I told him, 'My contractions are about 3 minutes apart. We just want to get off this exit.' We thought it would save us a little time."
State Police policy discourages the use of police escorts for private vehicles, except in life-or-death situations, Procopio said. But for a misguided moment, when the trooper left their car to finish up with the other motorist, John Davis hoped that the officer would come back to help them through traffic.
"Ironically, I was relieved to see the police. I thought, 'Oh cool, he'll help us,' " said John Davis. "He made it worse. He held us up."
The citation cost them 5 or 10 agonizing minutes before the trooper handed them an envelope and told them they'd be getting something in the mail. The citation came this week. In hindsight, the couple believe the trooper was trying to save them time by mailing the citation, rather than making them wait while he wrote it up.
Jennifer Davis was already deep into labor when they made it to the hospital, but it turns out they had time to spare. Charlotte Jane was born about five hours after their traffic stop, with a birth announcement that made the rounds of the maternity ward.
12-05-08, 01:45 AM #2
12-05-08, 02:16 AM #3
What a dick. Seriously. Why don't some cops understand that there are times to write tickets and times NOT to write tickets? Thanks for making us all look like heartless dickfaces. This guy needs to fight this one..if another Trooper told him it was ok to drive in the breakdown lane, then he probably thought it was ok to drive in the breakdown lane.
12-05-08, 04:56 AM #4
This is an example of what they call around here a ticket nazi. Policy is policy but man, have a heart!Romans 8:28-31
"Anima Sana In Corpore Sano"
The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Sheriff, County Board, or any member of my department.
12-05-08, 05:03 AM #5
My sgt. told me this my or third day after starting at my dept....
The world WILL NOT stop spinning if you don't write a ticket. Honest.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
12-05-08, 12:37 PM #6
I've met Troopers like this, but I've met more that were human.
Peer pressure sounds like the solution when you get one like this, to me.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
12-06-08, 04:07 AM #7
Luckily I work in a city with a hospital. So usually when folks try the hospital card on me, I take the license and tell them I'll meet them in the ER. If they're faking it, they'll usually tell me whatever tragedy there is has passed. If it's legit, they still get to the ER and I just give them their D/L back.
Normally I'd say if it's a big enough emergency then they should have called an ambulance. However, since the labor started while they were in traffic, it's a little different and a cop should use a little of what I've started calling uncommon sense."If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton
12-06-08, 02:42 PM #8
I go with the Trooper on this one! People have delivered babies for years without doctors and they dropped off another kid before going to the ER. The guys driving record is shit and the previous Trooper told them that they could not do it and they turned down the request for and ambulance.
Screw Them! A lack of planning on your part.......blah blah blah"And don't go home, and don't go to eat, and don't play with yourself. It wouldn't look nice on my highway", Buford T. Justice
#1 Rule in Police: Sometimes its easier to ask Forgiveness than it is to ask Permission
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
12-06-08, 04:09 PM #9
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
12-06-08, 04:57 PM #10
This is not just about the poor planning on the part of the Driver or the passenger. There is a third party involved. That of an unborn child. Regardless of the judgement of the parents an innocent life hangs in the balance. Commonsense deserves recognition here. It is the mothers second child which has a habit of coming pretty damn quick after a first child. Ask me I'll tell you. 3 minutes apart is not the time to be issuing traffic citations. If it is that important to cite the violation then follow them to the hospital or jot down the drivers address and pay a little visit at their residence after the delivery.
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
12-06-08, 09:26 PM #11
It doesn't make any refrence to the other troops who said they could travel in that lane...I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing that TWO troopers would allow someone with a medical emergency in their vehicle to continue in the breakdown lane.....that seems like a huge liability within itself. If someone wants to refuse the help offered to them, i.e ambulance, then I sure as hell would not let them continue on in any other way but by abiding by traffic law. Just doesn't make any sense. I think it is a little harsh to be calling the troop names when all we have heard so far is the "victim's" side of the strory. I know there are cops out there that make us look bad, but I have a hard time passing judgement till I hear the WHOLE story.." The warrior who honors the shield says, WHEN it happens, I will be ready...." Lt. Col. Grossman (Live... 9-11-07)
12-07-08, 01:47 AM #12
Women may have been delivering without medical intervention since before time began, but they've also been dying, and the babies too. Death in childbirth, stillbirth, blue babies, and a host of other problems can be averted by having medical attention. Were you that trooper, would you have been in a position to deal with a medical crisis before the ambulance got there? Mother hemorrhaging, baby not responsive, etc because you made them wait a half hour or better while an ambulance was dispatched and had to fight through the same gridlock that they were driving in the breakdown lane to avoid in the first place? Would you be able to live with yourself if either had died? Admittedly, they should have chosen the closer hospital, but the baby shouldn't pay the price for ANYONE's stupidity.
12-07-08, 10:04 AM #13The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of WarVerified LEO
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I'm very skeptical that two different troopers told them to use the breakdown lane... only for the third to decide to ticket. First... are troopers really stacked that heavily along that stretch of road? Second... neither said "stay here; let's call EMS" or passed word down the line?
Nope, I smell BS on that aspect.
I'm not saying the trooper who wrote the ticket handled it right, either.Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.
TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance
"Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
-- Col. David Grossman, US Army, ret.
All opinions expressed are my own and are not official statements of my employer.
12-07-08, 10:35 AM #14
I absolutely dislike seeing civilians speeding for any reason, causes too many collisions. Saying that I also use discretion. If it was me, I probably would of had the couple stay there, I'd call an ambulance, and deliver the baby on location (myself if needed). I would think it would be a liability issue if to let them go, knowing they would be speeding, distance further to travel, rush-hour...
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