On Saturday, Elizabeth Snyder was born by the side of I-95, delivered by a state trooper on the front seat of her parent’s new SUV.
When Tricia Snyder’s water broke Saturday morning, she and her husband suspected they were on borrowed time -- their first daughter was a fast delivery. Matt's solution was to speed above the posted limit from Aston toward the Hospital of the University of Philadelphia.
Even after a police car pulled into in his rear-view, he kept speeding on his way until his conscience (and a traffic jam) prompted him to pull over to the shoulder of the highway.
By then it was bar-closing time, and as Officer Peter Burghart came up to Matt’s car door, he expected to meet a driver under the influence. When Matt explained that a baby was on the way, Burghart quickly called for an ambulance and backup.
The backup beat the ambulance and Altomari ran up to see how Tricia Snyder was doing.
“Mrs. Snyder was very calm," Altomari recalls. "I asked her if she was ready to push. She said yes and Elizabeth was born.”
Altomari delivered baby Elizabeth, untangling the umbilical cord from around her neck and feeling the relief of the child’s first screams. By that time, Burghart and other state police had stopped traffic to make sure the area was safe and to make way for a helicopter landing, if necessary.
"Every day you prepare yourself to either save a life, take a life or give your own," Burghart said on Sunday, after holding Elizabeth for the first time. "It's very rare that you're gonna be prepared to watch one come into this world."
Elizabeth's father Matt has already taken to lecturing his daughter. "I told her last night when I was holding her at one in the morning that she has to be a good girl for the rest of her life, now, and don’t make daddy worry,” he said.
Cradling the baby in her arms, Tricia said she was already looking forward to little Elie's first birthday. "We'll have a state trooper party I think."