Body cam video shows New Mexico State Police officer helping newborn baby breathe
A New Mexico state police officer is being called a hero after saving the life of a newborn baby.
It was around 10:45 p.m. on July 24 when Officer Ismael Perez tried to conduct a traffic stop.
"I saw a car run the red light. So when I went to pull it over, I pulled into the hospital," Perez said. "I could hear over the radio they were mentioning something on the police radio about them needing an escort."
As soon as Perez gets out of his police car, he realized something was wrong.
"I thought it was a toddler. From what I could hear on the radio, it sounded like a toddler. So in my mind at all, a toddler was choking on something," Perez said.
But it wasn't. Instead, it was a newborn baby lying in the passenger seat.
"When I woke up, my wife was like, 'I'm having contractions, can take me in?' I was like. 'yeah, for sure,'" said Miguel Covarrubias.
On the way to the hospital, things took a quick turn.
"She's like, 'I feel the back to the baby coming,'" Covarrubias said. "I was like, 'OK, hold on, we're almost there. Just hold on.' I was going a decent speed, you know."
That's when the 24-year-old failed to come to a complete stop at the light, tracking the attention of Perez.
"I didn't make a complete stop, but I stopped. And there was a New Mexico State police sitting there at the stop sign. So I kind of stopped. But I didn't, then I took the right really quick," Covarrubias said.
As soon as he pulled into the ER entrance, he told the officer what was going on.
"As soon as I opened the door, I see a newborn baby on the seat lying there motionless. It kind of threw me off for a slight second," Perez said.
He realized the umbilical cord was compressed and started performing backslaps on the newborn until he began to cry.
"I have three kids of my own, so I've seen the doctors do that with my daughters because they came out of the womb the same way and no crying or anything. So I did the same thing," Perez said.
For minutes, his body camera captured him doing backslaps until Miguel Jr. started crying and hospital staff showed up.
"It was like a sense of relief, you know, because I knew someone that knew what they were doing was helping," Covarrubias said. "To me, in my eyes, he's a hero. He helped me in what I would say was one of the scariest moments in my life."
The family told sister station KOAT that what happened that night was a moment of divine intervention.
"It lined up perfectly to where everything turned out OK. So it was and is by the grace of God," Covarrubias said.
Perez is humbled by being called a hero. He told KOAT he did what any other would have done and he's grateful things turned out as best as they could.