Patterico's Pontifications


Police Flatten Tires of Guy Speeding to Take Pregnant Wife to Hospital

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:44 pm

Then again, they didn’t know that’s what he was doing:

FORT DODGE, Iowa– Police started to pursue a speeding SUV on Highway 7 near the town of Manson in Calhoun County, but the car’s occupants had a good reason for going over the speed limit.

Ben and Rachel Kohnen were heading to the hospital in Fort Dodge at about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. He admits that he was going about 30 miles over the speed limit when they passed the officer.

“He starts following me and he turns on his lights an my wife says we can’t pull over. The baby is coming now,” said the driver, Ben Kohnen of Pomeroy.


As they approached the outskirts of Fort Dodge, authorities were waiting for them.

“They had thrown out the tire spikes and so all four tires, I run over those and all four tires go flat,” said Ben Kohnen.

The Kohnens say they were ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint until police realized this was an emergency. Rachel was rushed to the hospital and nearly 10 pound, Hazel, was born an hour later.

Apparently the wife tried calling 911 but was too hysterical to be understood.

Opine away. Consider not assuming perfect knowledge on the cops’ part as you do so.

72 Responses to “Police Flatten Tires of Guy Speeding to Take Pregnant Wife to Hospital”

  1. “[S]peeding SUV” whose “all four tires go flat”. Good thing the police were there to help those poor people get away from that crazy machine.

    Assuming the police did not have perfect knowledge, a guy doing 85 in a 55 (or 95 in a 65), who does not respond to the flashing lights, and who is stopped by flattening his tires without anybody getting hurt, makes me say “Keep up the good work, officers”.

    nk (dbc370)

  2. They gotta stop even if it is an emergency. Cops can’t know the difference otherwise.

    DejectedHead (13c12c)

  3. Sure glad my SUV has run-flats.

    Darth Chocolate (6d0695)

  4. They’re traveling at 4:00 am. There is not much traffic on the roads.

    There’s a White Pages listing for this couple in Pomeroy, Ia. (which may be wildly out of date, to be sure). The Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge, Ia. is about 32 miles away, depending on some variations in route. His manic speeding would have saved them all of 13 minutes had he arrived without being detained. My mother was one for quick labors, but even she was never in a situation where 13 minutes would have been decisive in a commute to the hospital. He was acceding to his wife’s panic (as manifested in her advisories to ignore police officers and in the hysteria which made her unintelligible to the 911 dispatcher).

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  5. Police are so rude with their tire flattening antics

    happyfeet (532d1f)

  6. It is way less time consuming to pull over, show the cop your wife’s 9 month belly and then go forward from there.

    steveg (794291)

  7. steveg – that would have saved them a lot of time and $

    JD (a7659b)

  8. One of my high school buddies’ wife had her first baby in the lobby of their apartment building. Had the wife had other kids ?

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  9. Major tactical error on the prospective parents’ part. Either pulling over or making a coherent 9-1-1 (even if the driver had to slow down a bit and do the talking) would have been better. OTOH, I’ll bet the cops were please as punch that she waited the hour to drop the bundle as I know of no cops who really want to catch a kid (though some have – and you can hear the panic in their voices on the radio).

    Roy in Nipomo (8c3b61)

  10. The license plate probably alerted the officers they were registered republicans.

    mg (31009b)

  11. The things we know that are not so ….

    At 4 am I would have ordered the SUV to be followed, rather than risking flipping it.

    Not that the parents were the brightest bulbs on the block. I have not seen that they called the hospital and told them they were coming. The hospital should have forwarded that call to the local dispatch to get the SUV an escort (and an EMT, stop put wife, birth kit, and EMT in the back, go.)

    htom (9b625a)

  12. good catch Mr. mg

    happyfeet (532d1f)

  13. They’re lucky the police didn’t pull some tractors and hay wagons across all lanes to block teh road ala Vanishing Point.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  14. I don’t imagine being “felony proned” on the pavement was very comfortable for the missus.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. Hazel?!?! Shoulda been Ferrari or maybe Porsche

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  16. You’ re all being pretty hard on these people. It looks like they were actually, you know, married before having the kid. In this day and age they should get some points for that at least.

    elissa (400341)

  17. Absent any information that the driver was a threat to life and safety (I assume this was controlled speeding on a highway), the officers overreacted. The action they took could well have killed people, and that is completely unacceptable for mere speeding.

    Sure there are situations why a speeding driver might be guilty of some other, more serious crime, but as the situation developed there are other possibilities.

    OTOH, the guy should have pulled over immediately and asked the officer for an escort. NOt that everyone can be rational in that kind of situation.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  18. And not pulling over in response to the lights and siren. That’s probable cause. Heck, that’s admissible in court as flight evidencing guilt.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. Panicking is panicking. Once that happens, rational thinking doesn’t.
    At that time of the night I assume there wasn’t too much traffic, that the police could have driven along side and could have seen there was no evidence of someone at gunpoint, etc., and tailed them.
    But second guessing is easy.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  20. If’n you don’t use spike strips, they get taken away. Same as tanks.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  21. How high is the risk of a car losing control hitting those things?

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  22. @18— not quite. Its “failure to yield”.

    Yes, the dude should have pulled over and explained the situation. This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. The explanation often leads to a police escort to the hospital even though such a thing is not allowed in a lot of departments. Notwithstanding a lot of the commenters that show up here at times, the cops are pretty good at cutting through BS, be it a bogus story or departmental orders,and getting things done.

    I don’t see the need for proning them out at gunpoint for speeding and failure to yield. There was no indication (from the story) of an underlying “real” crime or of weapons involved.

    What will be interesting will be how the follow up goes: Charges sought? and filed? who pays for the tires? Its a shame so many people are asleep at 0400 and are not aware of the stuff that goes on out there.

    Gramps, the original (7adb80)

  23. MD a lot depends on driver reaction, which is often out of their control. If you slam on the brakes, which is the worst thing you can do, you run the risk of a rim digging in which could flip the truck/car. SUVs are very unstable in the first place. Could have been a tragedy, although the parents could have acted more responsibly.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  24. That’s what ambulances are for.

    Leandro Kill (7b7528)

  25. I think “all’s well that ends well”; the couple should enjoy their new baby; and the guy should pay the police tow and pound fee and for his new tires; but the county attorney should dismiss any tickets.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. When in such emergency situations you are supposed to put on your hazard lights so as to alert the police there’s something hazardous going on.

    It doesn’t seem like that was done.

    Then they should have pulled over and asked for an escort if the cops didn’t pull alongside and scream at them.

    luagha (1de9ec)

  27. agreed, nk,
    and we won’t even charge them for solving their problem

    Though it would be a nice gesture if the police take up a collection for a baby gift.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  28. Kevin M (b357ee) — 10/18/2014 @ 6:30 pm

    OTOH, the guy should have pulled over immediately and asked the officer for an escort

    He probably had no idea that he could get one. Where should he have learned that?? Do you need to learn that to get a driver’s license? Would his wife’s doctor be expected to tell him? Maybe it’s a requirement to graduate high school? All he knew was that if she is in labor he should get to the hospital where she planned to give birth as fast as possible.

    And the obstretician probably didn’t say “but don’t go above the speed limit.” Nor did he probably say “call the police” “wait for an ambulance” or anything else like that.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2bb62)

  29. I’ve driven a mother to the hospital after her water broke, Sammy. There might even be one more father who’s done it besides me and Mr. Kohnen. I don’t know about him (this hypothetical other guy), but by the Grace of God I was not stopped by the police and we made it there just fine.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. 26. luagha (1de9ec) — 10/18/2014 @ 7:57 pm

    When in such emergency situations you are supposed to put on your hazard lights so as to alert the police there’s something hazardous going on.

    It doesn’t seem like that was done.

    In fact, actually that would have been illegal in Iowa:

    The use of hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2bb62)

  31. Hazard lights anyway, are for slow driving, or being stopped, on a highway, in conditions of darkness or low visibility, not speeding, and intended to alert other drivers, [not the police!] that the car is a hazard to them.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2bb62)

  32. On reflection MD as all 4 tires deflated simultaneously it was likely a tad more stable that if one, or two on one side of the truck, had done so. It’s the disparate ride height and the sudden “landing” that causes the problems.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  33. Mom announced that it was time to go. Dad grabbed the suitcase, put it in the trunk, took my brother and sister to the neighbor’s (I was away), and drove to the hospital (three minutes away in 1957.) He was so experienced in doing this.

    Then he came back and picked up Mom.

    htom (9b625a)

  34. Heh! Is that a true story, htom? It just sounds too good to be true.

    nk (dbc370)

  35. That’s hilarious. Back in the late 70s we used to give Mom’s gas during delivery to smooth things along. They encouraged husbands to hols the face mask to comfort the wife. My good friend Steve (who was of the disposition whereby he went through several dry runs to the hospital) duly held the mask. His wife started to struggle and he trued to calm but she struggled even more. He then glanced at the gas bottle and noticed that the gauge read “EMPTY.” He promptly fainted and missed the birth of his son.

    Gazzer (cb9ee2)

  36. Oh, very true. Several neighbors as witnesses.

    htom (9b625a)

  37. My wife’s water broke at 4 a.m. I got up and showered. Then drove her 12 miles to the hospital on icy roads at approximately 25 miles per hour. No speeding. No cops. No panic. Baby born at the hospital with no problems. And it was our first (and only).

    However, my wife never forgave me for the shower.

    navyvet (ec562e)

  38. yeah, i can see pulling over here in #Failifornia, and asking a Can’t Handle Policew*rk assh*le for and escort to the hospital.

    after the multiple cavity searches, the still birth of my child and the eventual arrest for obstructing traffic and unlawful emission of hazardous waste, i’m sure i’d be a firm supporter of the forces of law & order.

    this is bull5hit, and a case of cops with nothing better to do creating a situation where they could all get awards rather than just following along and writing the ticket at the end.

    not many macho points for your punk azz if you do that, so better to lay the strips and be a hero pig.

    the thin blue lie is just that.

    redc1c4 (269d8e)

  39. narciso (ee1f88) — 10/18/2014 @ 8:58 pm
    men with spines have been sighted, that’s good news.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  40. Clearly a lack of training was the problem. But not sure which side.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  41. Insane driving by people rushing to a hospital is not uncommon. Also not uncommon: wrecks (sometimes fatal) by drivers rushing to a hospital.
    I was once nearly rammed by a driver I was attempting to escort who evidently felt I was not driving fast enough. One classic driver bypassed a waiting police escort and took off in the wrong direction, with pursuing officers blasting “wrong way” over their PA’s. Didn’t stop until he ran out of road.

    cm smith (f967aa)

  42. Pull the fark over. Tell Johnny Law that Mrs Hazel’s Mama is in labor. Clearly this is POLICE RACISM. or Brutality or ILLEGAL PREGNANT LADY PULLING OVER or something. WTF?

    Gus (7cc192)

  43. He probably had no idea that he could get one. Where should he have learned that??

    Sammy, have you ever watched a movie?

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  44. The use of hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

    Driving at 90 on a rural highway IS a traffic hazard.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  45. #39: I can see why you have difficulty with cops.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  46. Completely off-topic, update on the “Islamic State”:
    *Kurds claim Turkey is shelling the Kurds in Kobane; these are PYD/PKK fighters.

    *US is in talks with the PYD, which is apparently a Syrian Kurdish Communist group connected with the PKK; supposedly, the US is willing to arm them as long as they aren’t the only Kurds getting guns

    *Falah Mustafa, head of the KRG Dept. of Foreign Relations, says that Iraq will need foreign ground troops to defeat ISIS.

    Ibidem (ac5833)

  47. Commenting on the topic, I’m inclined to say everyone’s decisions don’t seem unreasonable, given the circumstances.

    Ibidem (ac5833)

  48. The United states ios finally doing something in Kobane, and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/IS/”the” Islamic state/Whatchamacallit has even been pushed back a little. Obama apparently decided this was like some have said bombing Auschwitz would have bene in World War II – if the enemy seemed to think this was important, then there was a military reason for bombing, even if they didn’t want to justify it for itself.

    Since ISIS seems to want this so much, that’s reason enough to interfere. Most of the population actually fled, except for a few hundred old people and others who just didn’t want to leave.

    ISIS is actually, I think, doing the oldest kind of military deception in the book: trying to make their numbers and weapons look more than what they are. ISIS is really throwing everything into this thing.

    At first they abandoned some checkpoints. Later some people in Raqqa. Now they are recruiting 12-year old boys, giving them two hours training and throwing them into the fight. They are still training some people to fly airplanes, but much is being given up or risked in this bluff..

    They are also trying to attack near Baghdad.

    The whole thing is like the Battle of the Bulge. ISIS has bene bluffing and fooling people about its strength, and its invincibility, and they are seriously weakening themselves now. The United States now has started to co-operate wth Syrian Kurdish forces and a lot of vehicles and aretillery is being bombed.

    And what now? Turkey is joining the war – a bit – on the other side??

    Sammy Finkelman (c2bb62)

  49. #46: and i can see why you don’t make your living as a psychic or a gambler. i don’t have a problem with cops, i just know that they are neither to be trusted nor counted upon. they will, however, get there in time to take a report, assuming you’re alive to file one.

    IRL, i’m Joe Citizen, and Resident Evil makes me look like an anarchist, yet we both have had more than one run in with CHP & LAPD, during the course of day to day life, not drama induced, that has led us to believe that there’s an awful lot of incipient brown shirts out there, just itching to get their fascist on.

    as a LEO, when you’ve lost the trust of your mainstream citizen, you’ve already lost the unconventional war you’re involved in.

    redc1c4 (589173)

  50. BasNews reported that Iran has been directing IS to attack Kurdistan rather than Baghdad (according to the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan), with aid for IS forces being collected openly. I’m taking that with a grain of salt, given that the source is an interested party.
    They also say that the Kurds made progress in Kobane today, and that IS troops are wearing Peshmerga uniforms while commiting war crimes.

    If you’re right, now would be a great time to double down on the bombs…

    Ibidem (ac5833)

  51. This was the right decision by the police. The driver would not pull over and the police waited until they got to the edge of the city before laying down the spike strips. This prevented the SUV driver from driving fast in the city limits. I’m glad that the couple were still able to get to the hospital and have their baby. I hope the prosecutor doesn’t charge them, but that they get a good talking to. The cost of the tow and 4 tires is enough punishment in my eyes. But then again, I have common sense which isn’t all that common anymore.

    Start rant.

    In the Los Angeles area, I’m afraid of the police. I believe the ticket giving not for safety, but for revenue generation and the over militaration of the police has created an us vs them mentality. I look at the police and government no longer as being good for me, but at odds with the constitution and rule of law. It’s sad that I no longer feel I can trust the police. I believe everything the government and police tells me has to be fact checked before I can believe what they say. I once worked with a serial liar where I always had to fact check what he said. It was tiring.

    I don’t know if I can forgive the LAPD for the evening in 1996 that my ex-wife came to my home and tried to forcibly take our children when I was the primary custodial parent. I had our 3 year old in my arms when she was pulling him while I was trying not to let him drop on the cement and I was screaming for help. Then she started punching me in the face and body. When the 6 police cars arrived I had blood streaming down my face. When I showed them the court order, they said it didn’t count because it might have changed. Then they told me if I charged her that they would charge me too and send the children to foster care. I hadn’t asked them to charge her, they gave me that information when they sat down and talked to me. Then they tried to get me to admit hitting my ex when I had not hit her. Then they gave my ex the children. My ex had knocked me down twice before yet they gave her the children! This was despite a law in Los Angeles county that stated that the person who draws blood in a domestic violence incident must go to jail. I was abused twice.

    When a previous employer decided to not pay my ex spousal support that was garnished from my paycheck, family services didn’t go after my ex-employer, no they went after me with fines and 10 percent interest. they said that even though the amount being garnished from my paycheck was the exact amount of the spousal support it didn’t count because it said garnishment instead of spousal support. Even after over paying the whole amount while being the primary custodial parent, they said I owed $6,800.00. Out of 8 audits they only got the amount my ex was owed right once. A female judge ended up setting it straight and also gave me the right to send and pay for my children to go to private school. Of course family services didn’t like that so they decided to put a zero dollar lien on my home. Petty beaurocrats.

    I was one time charged with speeding 21 MPH over the speed limit by a LA sheriff when I wasn’t speeding. Lucky I was able to prove I wasn’t speeding, but it cost me a lot of time and I still had to pay the bail upfront. Then when I won my case it took them 3 months to pay me. The sheriff was wrong or lied.

    I’m not saying that I’ve never sped before, just that I was not speeding that day, and certainly not 21 MPH over the speed limit.

    There’s more…

    BTW, I’m a computer programmer, 5’8″ tall, balding on the top of my head, white heterosexual male, have all my teeth, and don’t wear a cowboy hat, so this isn’t profiling or racial. Not that I object to wearing a cowboy hat and have before, just that I’m not the stereotype the left thinks the police should be after.

    The way I feel now, is that they have to prove they aren’t lying before I believe them and that’s not how it should be.

    Rant over.

    Tanny O'Haley (066e8f)


    narciso (ee1f88) — 10/18/2014 @ 8:58 pm

    Here’s the problem, I should believe the DOJ, but I dont. The DOJ should be after justice, but I don’t believe they will seek justice because I believe they are corrupt. I hope people in the DOJ lose their jobs and that Sierra Pacific gets justice.

    Tanny O'Haley (066e8f)

  53. Daddy had a severe case of the “dumb ass”.

    The tire spikes may or may not of been a good idea. Depends on the area and traffic.

    Gerald A 11/2006 (2c96c6)

  54. 30 miles over the limit is reckless driving and a risk to others on the road. There wasn’t time to call 911 and as for an escort as they got to the car?

    Garfunkel & Oates: ‘Pregnant Women Are Smug’

    Estragon (ada867)

  55. Sorry for going off topic. But I seem to remember a couple of commenters here saying that churches and their leaders would not be prosecuted for refusing to perform gay marriages. I predicted that it would happen within five years. I don’t want to hear that it won’t hold up in court because they still have to spend the money defending themselves, and probably bankrupt the parish.

    hadoop (f7d5ba)

  56. hadoop- thanks for that link, though I must say, running something called “The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel” does sound a bit more like a business than a religious institution, but it is certainly a business more directly faith based than baking cakes

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  57. Went and looked for “highway 7″– it’s listed as 190th St until you zoom down really close. It MIGHT be four lanes, total, but it could also be a standard agricultural road that’s got room for swathers to pass each other without going in the ditch. Follow it west past Manson and you find that the route crosses a rail road, has lots of deceptively gentle turns from side to side, and goes past a LOT of farms.

    4AM is a common time to move large equipment when you’re harvesting, and if they got lucky and there wasn’t ANY other vehicle on the road, it’s still dark and deer don’t care that you’re taking your wife to the hospital, and they sure aren’t going to get out of the way of your 85mph race through the dark.

    I’m just *sure* I’d feel so much better about being in the hospital because my tractor got wiped out by a moron who managed to kill himself and his pregnant wife in the process…..

    Foxfier (0269a8)

  58. Give the dad a break for crying out-loud.
    He’s an Iowegean.

    mg (31009b)

  59. This was their 4th child so they shouldn’t have been so panicked, and I say that as someone who is somewhat sympathetic since my second child was born after only 11 minutes of labor.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  60. hadoop- thanks for that link, though I must say, running something called “The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel” does sound a bit more like a business than a religious institution, but it is certainly a business more directly faith based than baking cakes
    MD in Philly (f9371b) — 10/19/2014 @ 7:15 am

    One word: precedence.

    hadoop (f7d5ba)

  61. “Give the dad a break for crying out-loud.
    He’s an Iowegean.”

    Do you know what a beautiful girl in Iowa is called ?


    Mike K (90dfdc)

  62. ” Of course family services didn’t like that so they decided to put a zero dollar lien on my home. Petty bureaucrats.”

    The city of Los Angeles tried to bill me for property tax on a boat slip that I rented. The city owned the marina. I refused to pay and then learned a few years later that they had placed a lien on my home for the unpaid tax. No notice. I was in escrow selling it and had to pay.

    I know where you are coming from, pal. I have nothing like your story but I believe it completely

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  63. Apparently it’s two lane, popular with bicyclists, and at least one has been killed in that very area this year.
    (the story says two more have died, but I think that’s state wide)

    Foxfier (0269a8)

  64. My first Grandson was born in August and a very similar situation happened to my son and daughter in law. She went into labor at about 3:30am, He called the hospital and told them they were on the way while she dressed. On the way to the hospital they passed a marked cruiser at about 20 mph over the limit…cruiser lights them up…my son pulled over…officer approaches their car….my son quickly explained the situation…they were soon on the way with a police escort. Elapsed time, about 90 seconds. They probably actually arrived sooner by stopping and getting the escort. I’m guessing the officer was petrified that if they didn’t get to the hospital on time, he might end up having to deliver the baby.

    Very poor decision making on the part of the driver in this story.

    Calfed (2dd274)

  65. On Fox News Sunday… Debbie Poodleman Shultz to America: “Americans know Democrats and the President have their backs.”

    Reince Preibus to Debbie Poodleman Shultz… “the President hasn’t had anybody’s back… the President hasn’t even had YOUR back.”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  66. I just noticed how much Poodleman Shultz resembles a character on Futurama…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  67. Very poor decision making on the part of the driver in this story.

    What gets you is that this is their fourth child. It’s not like they have not been through the paces. Even with the lengthy commute and the delays, it was still an hour at the hospital before that baby was born.

    Art Deco (ee8de5)

  68. I was born in a car…so it can happen…and it was my father’s only new car until he was in his eighties…it was never the same. Policeman tried to pull Dad over and Dad did the arm motion “catch up” and rolled down his window and yelled “BABY!” at the police officer but never took his foot off the accelerator. Policeman followed to hospital just to make sure it wasn’t a ruse.

    First Spouse (38ef5d)

  69. Apparently the wife tried calling 911 but was too hysterical to be understood.

    4:00a.m. One SUV speeding down the road 30mph over the limit. A woman makes a 911 call. She’s too hysterical to be understood. But maybe they understood to know something like “driving” and “hurry.” Or somehow or other connected the call to the vehicle.

    It would be interesting to hear the 911. I’d bet if you didn’t understand she was in labor, the voice would have sounded like she was scared for her life.

    Steve57 (4d34f4)

  70. Good point, Steve57.

    Foxfier (0269a8)

  71. hey out there,
    anybody want to post about this OT link:
    hadoop (f7d5ba) — 10/19/2014 @ 5:39 am ?

    Legally it seems to aim squarely at the confluence of “Anti-discrimination law”, “same-sex wedding law”, and freedom of religion/ “freedom of religious practice in real life” (“forpirl”- Copyright 2014)

    It is not about looking down on gays or thinking anyone is better.
    It is about none of us like being told we are wrong,
    or that none of us like to be told we have a problem for fear we can’t deal with it.

    “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world….
    But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:9,12

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

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