"I was excited, a little anxious and fearful, but bringing life into this world is a big deal," Officer Kevin Jackson tells PEOPLE

By Michelle Boudin
Updated May 10, 2016 02:10 PM
Credit: Courtesy of Taelor Johnson

Taelor Johnson was just two weeks from her due date, and after spending hours writhing in pain on her couch, she finally grabbed her mom and 4-year-old daughter and headed to the hospital at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

“I didn’t think I was in labor, I just thought there was something wrong,” Johnson tells PEOPLE.

But the 27-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, was in labor.

The family was on the interstate when Johnson told her mom she was going to be sick – she needed to pull over, but they were stuck in traffic because of an accident.

Her mom quickly realized they needed help. Luckily, the two women could see blue lights and police officers working the wreck in the distance and she flagged them down.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Kevin Jackson tells PEOPLE: “We see a lady across the road waving at us officers for help. She said, ‘I think my daughter is in labor right now.’ ”

The 23-year-old rookie police officer, who was just weeks out of the training academy, grabbed his partner and sprang into action.

“I was excited, a little anxious and fearful, but bringing life into this world is a big deal – and only having five weeks on, I wasn’t sure I was ready,” Jackson says. “I asked her if her water broke and she wasn’t sure.”

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Jackson’s partner for the night, Mike Caskey, – a father of three – tells PEOPLE, “I’ve been in this situation before and usually medic [ambulance service] gets here before the actual birth. We were wrong.”

The whole thing happened in under five minutes.

Johnson says she was leaning over the guardrail when she realized her baby was coming – and she was coming right that second.

“I’m holding on to the guardrail, trying to get my sweatpants down and she started to crown. As I soon as I got my pants down, she was coming out, sliding into my arm.”

“The mom was bent over and so we just kind of caught her – caught the baby,” Jackson says.

Aria was five pounds, two ounces and crying as she came out.

The officers got a blanket, wrapped her up, wiped her off and waited for the paramedics to come to cut the umbilical cord and take mom and baby to the hospital.

Jackson went to see Aria and her mom in the hospital the next day and says he loved holding the little girl he helped deliver.

“I actually had an infant death two days prior, so seeing Aria in the hospital and being able to be a part of that really helped out with the coping, it really helped with the stuff we see and do as officers. It helped me see the 360 degrees of how everything comes full circle.”

Officer Caskey adds, “We deal with so many terrible things, it’s good to see something so personal, being able to be there and help in time of need gives you a little more hope.”

Johnson says she will forever be grateful for the officers who helped bring Aria into this world.

“It’s divine intervention,” she says. “If they hadn’t been there, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Caskey smiles, “She had all the hard work, we were just helping out!”