BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Two people died in a crash involving three vehicles on Highway 17 near Belfast Keller Road in Bryan County around 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. A vehicle heading northbound towards Richmond Hill in the southbound lanes of Highway 17 crashed into one vehicle head-on before hitting another, according to Georgia State Patrol Cpl. Dante Williams. Williams also confirmed one serious injury, and that person has been transported to a nearby hospital.
Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox has identified the two victims as Sergio Miguel Ortega-Gonzalez of Liberty County and Jessica Thornburg of Bloomingdale.
The accident resulted in a traffic slowdown that prevented Pamela Gaither and her husband Falaq from getting to Winn Army Community Hospital in time for the birth of their second child. Pamela Gaither says she started having contractions around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and she, Falaq and her son were in their car traveling to the hospital for the second time that morning when the three-vehicle crash stopped traffic. Some first responders on the scene began assisting Pamela.
“When I first showed up here, my mindset was on the initial call. When a PD officer comes up to you and says ‘Hey we have something totally not associated with this and someone’s giving birth, you kind of have to change your mindset and say ‘Okay, here’s a positive thing. We’re about to help somebody bring life into this world,’” said Drew Davies, a firefighter and EMT with Bryan County Emergency Services.
Pamela realized she was giving birth in the car. She said her husband Falaq, a paramedic serving in the military, delivered his second son while she was in the passenger seat.
“There were talks about calling an ambulance and such, and my husband was like ‘I don’t know where she’s at in labor,” she said. “I told him, ‘He’s coming’ because I could feel his head pretty much coming out. It happened so quickly.”
Despite the “crazy way” Pamela says she gave birth to her second son, there was a silver lining for the family. Falaq was not planning to be at the birth due to COVID-19 restrictions and the need to supervise their toddler at home.
“He was actually able to help deliver the baby and I think that was great that he could be there and we could share this moment as a family,” she said.
Additional EMTs arrived on the scene with an ambulance to take the family to Winn Army Community Hospital. Everyone is doing well, according to Pamela. The Gaithers named their new baby Charles, but they have not yet decided on a middle name.
“We’re thinking about tying in the fact that at the same place unfortunately someone passed away, but also new life came in,” said Pamela.