OAKLAND -- Officer Charles Stone was meeting with a Shell gas station clerk Friday night with two colleagues when a man frantically ran to them for help. His wife was in labor in the family SUV, and they couldn't make it to the hospital.
Stone and Officers Sean Bowling and Jeffhry Cid quickly took on the role of impromptu midwives in a rare delivery by a sworn Oakland patrolman.
The pregnancy pandemonium began at 6:37 p.m., when the father, on his way to the hospital, spotted the patrol cars in the gas station at 9750 Golf Links Road, near the Oakland Zoo entrance, said patrol Sgt. Rick Andreotti.
The trio of officers ran to the family's Ford Explorer and found the mother in the front seat and her 8-year-old son in the back seat.
"She said, 'I'm having the baby right now,'" said Stone, a father of two girls who had witnessed both their births. "We were in the right place at the right time."
It didn't hurt that Cid was a former UC San Francisco registered nurse. He took the lead after he noticed the woman's contractions were two minutes apart, Andreotti said.
"He knew exactly what to do," the sergeant said. All officers are trained in delivering babies, Andreotti said.
"We were telling her to breathe and to push push, push," Stone said. "She followed our instructions."
After about four minutes, before firefighters and paramedics could arrive, she gave birth to a healthy 7 pound, 9 ounce baby boy.
The father, who went from panicked to ecstatic, took off his sweater and wrapped the baby before it was taken to the hospital by an ambulance crew.
"He said 'I love you guys, I respect you guys, we're blessed you guys were here for my family, and you saved my son's life,'" Stone said. "He was extremely happy."
The baby's older brother watched from the back seat, Stone said, and "was the most calm and collected young man I can imagine. He was very brave."
Normally busy fighting crime, Stone said participating in the delivery of a baby was a "pretty special thing."
"It is one of the proudest moments I've had as an Oakland police officer," the 12-year police veteran said. "As far as police work, this is probably the most positive thing I've seen. It was a healthy baby, and it worked out the way it was supposed to."
The officers later visited the family in the hospital, and both mother and baby were in stable condition and doing well, Andreotti said.
The couple named the baby Knowland, after the park across the street from the gas station.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.