Special Delivery at the Verrazano

MTA Bridges and Tunnels Officers assisted in alleviating a joyful traffic tie-up at the Staten Island bound toll plaza of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge early Monday morning when a woman gave birth to a healthy, 7 lb. 2 ounce baby girl in an E-ZPass lane.

Special Delivery at the Verrazano

Actually, because the event occurred at 3 a.m. there was little traffic on the plaza but the officers were thrilled to be able to assist in the birth.  "I'm a father myself, and it was exciting to be part of such a happy event," said Sgt. Mark Herbert, who drove the child to the hospital in a Bridges and Tunnels' patrol car.

The excitement began around 3:10 a.m. when the mother and father, driving in a car service cab, pulled into an E-ZPass lane on the plaza. Sgt. Danielle Katshl saw the car stop and went to see if there was a problem. When Sgt. Katshl looked inside she could see the baby's head crowning.

Dr. Ezra Dori, the couple's doctor, arrived almost right behind the cab. Dr. Dori, who is on staff at Staten Island University Hospital and has been delivering babies for 17 years, had been in contact with the couple and knew they weren't going to make it to the hospital.  Dr. Dori advised them to stop at the toll plaza where it was well lit. 

An ambulance was called and Sgt. Katshl and Officers Michael Aurila and Deborah Rittenhouse closed two other westbound toll lanes. While these officers secured and made sure the scene was safe, Bridge and Tunnel Officers Lisa Sanchez and Michael Chyorny stayed with the doctor, who asked for shoelaces and something to cut the baby's umbilical cord. Officer Sanchez gladly donated both of her shoelaces and Officer Chyorny provided a small pocket knife to cut the cord.

"To be able to help bring a new life into the world is a wonderful experience," said Chyorny, who has been with Bridges and Tunnels seven years and is a former paramedic with 25 years of experience.

It took only 8 minutes for the newborn baby girl to make her appearance. At the doctor's request, Sgt. Mark Herbert drove the infant to Staten Island University Hospital while Officers Sanchez and Chyorny held the little bundle in the back seat. "The baby was happy, healthy and crying loudly," said Sgt. Herbert, who is also a 7-year veteran. "It was an exciting overnight shift."