Pregnant woman dies in a car crash on way to give birth, but baby miraculously survives
The relentless snowfall had meant large patches of roads had been covered by black ice, which is practically invisible. It was one of these patches that would take away the life of expecting mother Desiree Strout.
It was a story of both sorrow and troubled happiness for one Maine family this past Monday. Twenty-seven-year-old Desiree Strout was nine months into her third pregnancy. Hailing from Canaan, Maine, she, along with her 29-year-old husband Harry Weeks, and eight-year-old daughter were heading to the nearby hospital to welcome the newest member of their growing family.
Strout was at the wheel, navigating toward the Redington-Fairview General hospital so she could be induced into labor, but tragedy would strike at the most inopportune of times. Just five miles away from their destination, their car struck a patch of black ice, a thin coating of glaze ice on the surface of the road which is transparent and incredibly slippery.
Chief David Buckham of the Skowhegan Police Department told People that Strout subsequently lost control of the car, which led to it sliding off the road, rolling and hitting a bank of frozen snow that had built up on the side. The car then rolled on to a frozen pond and came to a rest on its side.
Buckham said that when rescue workers and the Skowhegan Fire Department arrived at the harrowing scene, a decision was made to pull Strout out of the car and give her the necessary medical attention as she had stopped breathing. He also called to attention the efforts of Officer Christopher Viera and firefighter Jason Front for their sharp thinking.
This is where the 27-year-old pregnant woman went off the road. Police say it happened around 7:00 AM on Route 2 in Skowhegan, she was 9 months pregnant on her way to the hospital to be induced into labor. She was killed, the baby is in critical condition after C-Section. pic.twitter.com/IbroiZwxJt— Alexa Maslowski (@AlexaWGME) 22 January 2018
Unfortunately for the family, Strout succumbed to her wounds in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but miraculously, her baby survived. The baby boy was born via an emergency Caesarean section at the Redington-Fairview General Hospital, with The Kennebec Journal reporting that the baby was in critical condition.
The boy was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center. While a spokesman for the hospital refused to comment on the baby's condition, a statement released by the grieving family asked for privacy during this incredibly difficult time.
In an email to the Morning Sentinel, Buckham wrote: "The baby is currently in Bangor at EMMC," adding "Unknown status, as the hospital will not give us an update."
Strout's husband Weeks did not escape unscathed either. He is said to have suffered a lacerated liver, a punctured lung, and was listed in critical condition. However, their daughter was much luckier and got away with a few minor injuries. Their third child, a two-year-old girl, was not in the car at the time of the accident.
Talking to People, Strout's high school friend Brandon Blodgett said that she was an amazing mother who homeschooled her children and loved teaching them new things. He said: "She had this wicked bubbly personality, and was always so chipper. You liked to be around her. She was an amazing mother."
He added that the entire community was in shock about the incident, saying: "It's going to take a long time for Harry to be all right, but I have faith. It's tragic."
Another family friend, Franny MacMichael Clark, similarly expressed her sadness upon hearing the news of the mother-of-three. She said: "The times I was around her, she was a very loving mother. Her oldest daughter, Delanie, is such a smart little cookie and I know Desiree home-schooled her kids so you could tell, it was evident, that she spent a lot of time with them and teaching them. She was a sweetheart — her parents are my neighbors."
Speaking about the accident, Buckman said: "It was an extremely stressful and emotional morning as Desiree was well known throughout the community as well as her mother working at the hospital Desiree was taken to."
"I personally would like to express my sincere appreciation to the men and woman of both the Skowhegan Police Department and Fire Department for their quick response and decisive action on scene."
Businesses taking donations for family of Desiree Strout, the pregnant woman killed in Skowhegan crash. She leaves behind husband & 3 kids pic.twitter.com/XUOaNAklE1— Marissa Bodnar (@MarissaWGME) 23 January 2018
The latest update on the family's situation was that the baby boy was still in critical condition. Travis Weston, Strout's cousin and an employee of Bangor Daily News, said that the family was still unsure if the baby would make it. A benefit dinner to support the family will take place at Saint Albans Union Church on Sunday, January 28 from 4-6 pm.
This GoFundMe page has been set up in the family's name to help raise donations to pay for Strout's funeral and for aiding the family with their medical expenses. A description on the page read: "We're still unsure if the newest member of our family will make it. Our family is nothing if not strong and united. When something happens to one of us, it happens to us all."
"With the loss of Desiree, Harry is going to need the time to recover and adjust to a life without his wife. It is for that reason we would like to help him by covering the cost of Desiree's funeral, and helping as much as we can with their medical expenses."
Within 12 hours of its setting up, the page has managed to raise over $8,000, provoking a heartfelt response from the family reading: "Thank you, so much, everybody! The turn out and support has been such an amazing experience. I know Des would be so happy right now."
"It's been a long day, and I need to step away from the computer, but please, keep spreading the word and donate as much or as little as you can. Any amount helps, and I know the family will appreciate it."
If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org