A pregnant mother of two died in car crash Monday as she drove herself to the hospital to prepare to deliver her third child — who miraculously survived the wreck.
Desiree Strout, 28, of Canaan, Maine, was with husband Harry Weeks, 29, and their 8-year-old daughter as they made their way to Redington-Fairview General Hospital on Monday so she could be induced into labor at 9 months pregnant.
When she was just five miles away from the hospital, she lost control when she struck a patch of black ice, which caused the car to slide off the road, roll and hit frozen snow built up along the side of the road, Chief David Bucknam of the Skowhegan Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE. The vehicle then rolled onto a frozen pond and came to rest on its side.
When rescue workers and the Skowhegan Fire Department arrived on scene, “the decision was made to pull Desiree to the side of the pond where rescue personnel could give Desiree medical attention as she had stopped breathing,” said Bucknam, specifically praising Officer Christopher Viera and firefighter Jason Front for their heroic efforts.
Desiree died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but her baby boy pulled through and survived after being born via emergency Caesarean section at a local hospital. The Kennebec Journal reported that the baby was in critical condition around noon Monday at Redington-Fairview General Hospital.
He was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where a spokesperson declined to comment on the baby’s condition, but released a statement from the family asking for privacy during this “incredibly difficult time.”
Her husband, Harry Weeks, suffered a lacerated liver, a punctured lung and was listed in critical condition as of Monday, while their daughter has minor injuries, PEOPLE has learned. Their other daughter, who is two-years-old, wasn’t in the car.
Desiree’s friend from high school, Brandon Blodgett, 28, tells PEOPLE that she was an “amazing mother” who homeschooled her children and loved to teach them things.
“She had this wicked bubbly personality, and was always so chipper,” he says. “You liked to be around her. She was an amazing mother.”
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Blodgett says that the entire community is “in such shock” that she’s gone and that their baby is in critical condition.
“It’s going to take a long time for Harry to be all right, but I have faith,” he adds. “It’s tragic.”
Buckman says he will be recognizing both Officer Viera and firefighter Forst “for their quick actions that saved the life of the unborn child.”
“It was an extremely stressful and emotional morning as Desiree was well known throughout the community as well as her mother working at the hospital Desiree was taken to,” said Bucknam. “I personally would like to express my sincere appreciation to the men and woman of both the Skowhegan Police Department and Fire Department for their quick response and decisive action on scene.”