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Officers deliver baby in car Easter morning

Baby Ava was delivered by Chicago Police officers who jumped into help outside the 3rd Police District station. | Provided by family

Johnny Stokes was hustling to Comer Children’s Hospital Sunday morning with his daughter in labor in the passenger seat when he looked over and knew they weren’t going to make it.

“I was pulling up to 71st Street and Cottage Grove, and the baby was hanging out of my daughter’s shorts,” he said.

Also located at that particular corner: Chicago’s 3rd District Police Station.

Stokes pulled his black Chevy Tahoe onto the sidewalk in front of the station, ran to a parked squad car a few feet away and asked the officer inside for help.

Officer Sean Hamil, 28, quickly put on a pair of latex gloves and delivered the baby, a girl, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

He removed the cord, and the baby began to cry.

Chicago Police Officers Lawrence Nickerson (left) and Sean Hamil (right) assisted with the birth of Johnny Stokes’ first grandchild, who was delivered in his car as the family was on its way to the hospital. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
Chicago Police Officers Lawrence Nickerson (left) and Sean Hamil (right) assisted with the birth of Johnny Stokes’ first grandchild, who was delivered in his car as the family was on its way to the hospital. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Officer Geraldine Hutchinson, along with two other female colleagues, arrived moments later and tended to the baby before an ambulance arrived.

Mother, Kaliyah Stokes, and daughter, Ava, 8 pounds 2 ounces, are doing great.

Stokes and the crew of officers who helped out shared the story at a news conference Sunday.

“Ava is a great name, but I was kind of hoping they’d name her Easter,” joked Hutchinson, who has assisted in two previous births that also happened in cars.

The morning began at their suburban Dixmoor home when Kaliyah’s water broke, Stokes said.

Kaliyah, 17, was due last week, said Stokes, a CTA driver and a proud first-time grandfather.

Smiling broadly, Hamil’s partner, Lawrence Nickerson, who assisted with the birth, summed up the morning as “just another day in the 3rd District.”

An elated Stokes said he now has a story he can tell his granddaughter for years to come, and added with a laugh: “And the point is that she messed up the front seat of my car.”

Stokes also made clear his appreciation for the officers who jumped in.

“They did an excellent job. Without them, I don’t know what would have happened,” he said before bestowing an honorary title on Hamil and Nickerson: uncle.