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Back-Seat Birth Turns Tables on Police Officer

September 08, 1985|JOHN L. MITCHELL | Times Staff Writer

It is part of Police Officer Craig Stevens' job to pull motorists over and cite them for speeding in the fashionable neighborhoods in Beverly Hills. Recently, however, he himself was pulled for what he called a "once-in-a-lifetime experience."

"I was in the middle of writing a ticket (for speeding) when a van pulled up behind me and a woman began waving frantically, asking for help," he said. "I asked her what was wrong and she said her friend was in the back seat having a baby."

Stevens opened the back door to discover Barbara Garth, who was indeed in the midst of a delivery. Her husband, Baldwin, was helping.

The Garths had been en route to UCLA Medical Center, but their 8-pound, 11-ounce son, Gregory Eugene, opted to come into the world at Sunset and Roxbury.

"We were halfway to the hospital when I realized we were not going to make it," said Barbara Garth, who has two other children. "They started telling me to hold on, take deep breaths, but when it is time, it is time."

"She kept screaming 'The baby is coming! The baby is coming!' " Baldwin said. "I said to myself, 'This is it.' If this is the way it has to be, I'm going to face it like a man."

After Gregory was born, Baldwin Garth turned him over and he began breathing. Stevens, who assisted in the birth, called paramedics, who arrived about four minutes later, cut the umbilical cord and took mother and son to the hospital. Baldwin Garth followed in the van driven by a friend.

"It was kind of neat seeing a life being born in front of your eyes," said Stevens, who has been married four years but does not have children. "I know know that when my wife and I have a baby, I am going to make sure that I am there."

The Garths, who lived in Nicaragua for 10 years, returned to the United States in May. "We came here because of the excellent medical care, so wouldn't you know that I would have my baby in the back of a van," Barbara Garth said.

"I chose UCLA . . . because I wanted (the baby) to get a good start in a university environment, but he opted for the tinsel and glitter of Beverly Hills," said the mother, who teaches at Glendale Community College. "I hope that means there is fame and fortune in his future."

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