There was nothing routine about Quincy police officer Zachary Woods' night shift on a recent Wednesday night. For him, it was a quiet night as he patrolled the quiet streets of the city until about 2:30 a.m.
"I saw this SVU pulled over in the parking lot of Checkman Store on West Jefferson Street. Then I saw a man on a cell phone walking around in the parking lot and he appeared frantic. I pulled in to check it out and that's when I saw a woman in the front seat with her legs up in the air and she was screaming. I looked down and saw a baby's head coming out," Woods said.
"I was calling 911. I was very nervous. I was glad to see the police because I knew I had help," said Roberto Rodriguez, remembering the night his daughter was born.
Woods said Rodriguez was having difficulty explaining his location in Quincy to dispatch and his nervousness added to his inability to answer questions posed by the dispatcher.
Yanirz Rodriguez started having labor pains the night before but according to Rodriguez, the pains were very light. He said by the time she told him the pains were sharp and she needed to get to the hospital, the baby was moving.
"The baby just started coming. I was trying to drive and I was trying to hold the baby's head at the same time. That's when I pulled over," he said.
There was no time to wait for EMS so Woods said he asked Rodriguez to take off his shirt.
"He got the shirt off just in time just as the baby came out. I wrapped it in the shirt and I checked for vital signs and made sure the air passage was not obstructed. The baby was alert and looking all around. I tapped the baby on the bottom of the feet and it started to cry. By this time EMS arrived and took the mother and baby to the hospital. Her husband followed them in the car," Woods said.
Estrella Rodriguez weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 inches long.
“In my 3 years in law enforcement, this is the first time I've seen or been involved in anything like this. It was something," said Woods, who doesn't have any children.
A few days later, when Woods visited the family, Roberto held little Estrella and kissed her forehead. He called her his "miracle baby."
"This guy I will never forget. Never," he said as he patted Woods on the back.