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After Drug Arrest, Premature Baby Delivered in Jail Lobby

The mother was just six months pregnant; she had been arrested for public intoxication and drug use, according to jail staff.

A pregnant Clearlake woman who had been arrested on suspicion of public intoxication delivered her baby in the lobby of the Santa Cruz County Jail early Monday, the Sheriff's Office reported.

The 29-year-old woman was being escorted out of the jail lobby about 1:30 a.m. when she went into labor, according to Sgt. Steve Carney. Jail staff comforted the woman and delivered the baby girl three months premature.

Both mother and baby were taken to Dominican Hospital for further care and observation, Carney reported.

The mother had been arrested about 2 p.m. Sunday on Front Street and Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. Carney said she was jailed on suspicion of being drunk on alcohol and also high on methamphetamine.

The jail first refused to book the woman because of her intoxication and her pregnancy. She was taken to Dominican Hospital for observation until 5:30 p.m., when she was medically cleared to be taken to jail, according to Carney.

"They held onto her for a lengthy period of time to make sure she was sober enough to leave," he said, noting that most public intoxication arrests are released after five to six hours.

Around 1:30 a.m., she had sobered up enough to be released and her brother was waiting in the parking lot to pick her up, according to Carney.

Walking out of the jail, she sat down on the floor and went into labor. Carney said she hadn't shown signs of labor before then and that the baby was delivered very quickly.

The woman, who was only six months pregnant, had no extenuating problems with corrections staff or other inmates while in custody which could have contributed to the premature birth, Carney added.

The baby girl stopped breathing more than once while still at the jail. Jail medical staff resuscitated her and kept her alive until firefighters and medical staff arrived.

Carney praised the response of jail staff and medical personnel.

Watzon McWats October 23, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Very sad.
Amanda Reckenwithe October 23, 2012 at 08:01 AM
She will probably have major learning and developmental disabilities. The mother should be euthanized, immediately, so she won't be able to do this again, and saddle the public with the debts for care of her spawn....
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