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California and the West

For Officer, It's an Open-and-Shut Case of Motherhood

September 04, 1998|JOHN CANALIS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Huntington Beach Police Officer Victoria Shroyer was in the midst of writing a traffic ticket when a frantic father-to-be pulled up, screaming that his wife was about to have a baby.

The officer called paramedics while her two male colleagues carried Magdalena Salas, 28, of Huntington Beach out of her car and laid her on the sidewalk on Beach Boulevard near McFadden Avenue.

"I had her husband lay a towel under her and I said, 'I guess I have to look now,' " Shroyer said. "We told her to relax and breathe, and her husband was telling her to relax. . . . Then the little girl's head pops out and I thought, 'Oh no, the baby's coming out.' "

Moments after midnight Thursday morning, a healthy, 7-pound baby girl was born in her arms.

Paramedics soon arrived and took the mother and child to West Anaheim Medical Center, where both were doing fine.

And what did Shroyer do immediately after the paramedics pulled away from the curb?

She returned to the 17-year-old driver she had pulled over for speeding and finished writing up the ticket. She decided, though, to cite him simply for driving without a license.

"I told him I'd give him a break this time," she said.

That motorist could not be reached for comment. But Magdalena Salas, speaking later from her hospital bed, was extremely grateful.

"The lady that helped me was real nice. I want to say thank you to her," Salas said.

Shroyer, 34, a three-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department and a former officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, admitted being nervous even though she had some experience in this area: She had participated in the hospital birth of her nephew.

She downplayed her role, but said she also felt proud.

"Actually, it's great," Shroyer said. "I didn't think it was a big deal, but now everyone's calling me, saying 'Hey, Dr. Shroyer.' "

Meanwhile, Salas and her husband, Augostine Jaramillo, said they are considering "Victoria" as the baby's middle name, in honor of Shroyer.

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