A Highways Agency traffic officer got the surprise of his life when he pulled over to help a car that had stopped on a slip road and ended up delivering a bouncing baby boy.
Mike Fletcher and his colleague Daryl Corbett were on a night shift on Tuesday 17 June when they received a call from the regional control centre shortly after 3am saying the ambulance service had reported a woman in labour between junctions 11a and 11 of the M6 near Cannock.
As they headed to the scene they spotted a car that had stopped in the live lane of the junction 12 exit slip road and pulled over to help. While Daryl put up signs and cones to protect the car, Mike headed over and came face to face with a frantic father-to-be who informed them his wife was having a baby on the back seat.
Mike, 43, who is based at the Hilton Park outpost near junction 11, said:
I’d never come across anything like that in my life. I don’t have children of my own so I was trying to remember everything I’d ever seen on Casualty. I asked how far apart the contractions were but mum was shouting that it was coming and when I looked down sure enough there was the head.
I reassured mum, crouched down and supported the baby as he came out. I cleared his airway and fortunately he took a big gasp of air and started crying. We wrapped him in a blanket and as soon as the ambulance crew arrived we handed him over and went on our way.
It was just magic. I feel very humbled by the whole experience. We had to go for a strong coffee afterwards.
Mike and Daryl have both worked for the traffic officer service for around ten years.
John McTaggart, Head of On Road Services said:
Our traffic officers are well versed in helping the public on the Highways Agency network, whether it be after a breakdown, flat tyre or a collision. They are trained to be calm in a crisis and Mike and Daryl did an excellent job for the family. In every sense of the word, we deliver.
Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service staff are trained to a high standard in everything from safety to dealing with customers, traffic management and the use of technology.
Where incidents occur, they support the emergency services, managing the traffic and re-opening routes as soon as it is safe to do so. They help road users in the event of a breakdown or collision and also remove damaged and abandoned vehicles and clear debris from the carriageways.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.