RENO " During 11 years on the force, Nevada state trooper Dave Cox had heard stories about officers delivering babies in the back of cars but he never dreamed that he'd end up playing doctor today on a busy highway shoulder.
"I'm still shaking a little," Cox said after he flagged down an ambulance that took the smiling mother and apparently healthy baby boy to the hospital.
"I was there for my boys when they were born, but it's the first time I've had an active role in it and had to play catcher," he told The Associated Press.
Cox and his Nevada Highway Patrol partner Shawn Valiant were taking a crash report on U.S. 395 on the southeast side of Reno on Thursday morning when a red Ford pickup pulled up behind them and the driver jumped out.
"He started screaming, 'She's having a baby! She's having a baby!"' Cox said.
"He said, 'It's coming now. It's coming now."'
By the time Cox opened the rear passenger-side door, a woman who was assisting pulled back a blanket to show the baby's head and shoulder already had crowned.
"I had just enough time to catch him as he quickly exited," he said.
"I gloved up and tried best I could to clear out his mouth. It wasn't crying yet, which worried me a bit, so I started rubbing his chest and belly like I'd seen the doctor do with my boys and he started crying."
Cox handed the baby off to Valiant while he radioed for an ambulance, but before it got there, another happened by and they flagged it down. A paramedic cut the umbilical cord.
"We were happy to have him take over from there," said Cox, who has two sons, ages 8 and 11, and a 12-year-old stepdaughter.
Renown Medical Center spokesman Dan Davis confirmed a woman who gave birth to a baby on U.S. Highway 395 on Thursday was at the hospital but he said he did not immediately have any details he could release about the incident or the condition of the mother or child.
But Cox said the paramedic "seemed confident the baby was healthy."
"He had a full head of black hair and mom was smiling when she left," he said. "I'm going to buy cigars."