Speeding Driver Had Good Reason for Not Stopping for Police

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FORT DODGE, Iowa-- Police started to pursue a speeding SUV on Highway 7 near the town of Manson in Calhoun County, but the car's occupants had a good reason for going over the speed limit.

Ben and Rachel Kohnen were heading to the hospital in Fort Dodge at about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. He admits that he was going about 30 miles over the speed limit when they passed the officer.

"He starts following me and he turns on his lights an my wife says we can't pull over. The baby is coming now," said the driver, Ben Kohnen of Pomeroy.

"I did tell him not to stop," said Rachel Kohnen.

At the time, she was in labor with their fourth child and didn't think they would make it to the hospital in time.

"I think I was screaming, ' Oh dear God, we can't have the baby in the car,'" said the mother of four.

The couple says they tried to call 911, but the dispatcher probably couldn't understand Rachel in between her contractions.

"I know I was crazy lady screaming it into the phone," said Rachel.

As they approached the outskirts of Fort Dodge, authorities were waiting for them.

"They had thrown out the tire spikes and so all four tires, I run over those and all four tires go flat," said Ben Kohnen.

The Kohnens say they were ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint until police realized this was an emergency. Rachel was rushed to the hospital and nearly 10 pound, Hazel, was born an hour later.

"She's doing really well right now," the couple said.

Manson Police Chief Tom Ritts says no charges have been filed, but it's up to County Attorney to decide if that remains the case. The Chief says it's a good idea to call ahead for help to avoid situations like this.


  • harrisbock

    At least the officers didn’t shoot at the car. Multiple birth babies sometimes do happen fast and sometimes have complications. I would of stopped, stated “Baby SOON to be on board. We need emergency escort to the hospital” and then they may of had to try and keep up with the cop car.

    • Dave

      The officer is probably regretting not shooting at the car and using them as target practice. After all they do get away with “legally” killing a person. We have a culture where police officers are now a triad a gang unto itself protected by the same law they habitually break.

  • J.Jones

    This couple wasn’t thinking. Just because you’re having a baby and it’s an emergency doesn’t mean you can break the law by speeding,or elude an officer. I’m sure if they would have pulled over the could have explained their situation, and had the police officer escort them. Their lucky that it only ended in running over tire spikes and being held at gunpoint. I think they should be held accountable.

    • harrisbock

      If it was you and your child, I think you would think differently. I am familiar with that route, and during that time the traffic is minimal. Hitting a deer would be more of a concern. It isn’t like they were speeding in the Des Moines mix master during rush hour traffic. This is not felony eluding of an officer.

    • chris

      Well it’s ridiculous that you would say, they should be held accountable, it was her 4th child, so yeah probably coming pretty fast, they probably didn’t have time to think, they went through enough, really charge them, you have never panicked, highly doubt that, ignorance kills me

    • Katina Cooper

      J. Jones is a cop. It shows in his comment. Every one of those cops needs to be taken to small claims court and sued for everything possible. This is why, if you are going to be done in by the cops, at least take one of them with you. The rest of them will then get the message.

    • Virginia

      I agree it was a stupid thing to do. Why would they have one of the police officers that was risking his life to take them to the hospital. His squad car has sirens that would of stop tracffic and no threats to others lives. I cant believe that driver was not fined in some way for such a serious dangerous and law breaking offense. Thank God the driver didnt kill anyone including his unborn baby. God forbid.

      • harrisbock

        Those sirens are not as effective as they used to be with the modern and more sound proof vehicles of today. In my truck, with the radio on, I have looked in the rear mirror to see an officer coming up hard and fast. I pull over and only hear the siren as he/she passes me. I understand them speeding was a mistake, but why does the highway patrol hit speeds in the 80’s to catch up with a vehicle that was only doing 10 over the speed limit when they passed?

    • Falconi

      Maybe they didn’t break the law? Almost all common-law and statutory definitions of the “necessity defense” include the following elements: (1) the defendant acted to avoid a significant risk of harm; (2) no adequate lawful means could have been used to escape the harm; and (3) the harm avoided was greater than that caused by breaking the law.

    • Emergency means EMERGEMCY

      That’s a dumb statement. That is EXACTLY the case when you are allowed to break the law, because it’s an emergency and your vehicle is equipped with emergency flashers for just that case.

      Twenty years ago my father had a heart-attack. We lived out in the middle of nowhere in a small town (North Dakota).. the nearest hospital was 40 miles away. 911 dispatch wasn’t even able to come to our area so we drove to the nearest city at 90mph…and by the time we got there we DID have a HWP following us… we didn’t get a ticket though.

  • VladT

    Sadly, both sides were justified. The couple needed to get to the hospital, but from the police perspective, all they saw was a car going 30 mph over the speed limit, and not pulling over. Glad that charges are not going to be filed, and that nobody was hurt

  • Mom

    I’ve had 4 kids, and I have to say I think this couple’s actions were irresponsible. They think that driving at that speed with the inherent risks is a better choice than having a baby in the car? They prefer to replace 4 tires than have a baby in the car? They think that being chased by police (and all that that risks these days) is better than having a baby in the car? Poor decisions. The stop by the police would not have been that long. A trained police officer can easily spot a woman in advanced labor (especially a woman carrying a nearly 10lb baby) and would have given a quick, much safer escort to the hospital. The husband was listening to his panicking wife rather than common sense.

      • overed

        Nobody is claiming ignorance of the law. The defense would be, assuming any charges are filed, extenuating circumstances.

    • Charles McManus

      “A trained police officer can easily spot a woman in advanced labor (especially a woman carrying a nearly 10lb baby) and …”

      Apparently not since the cop had BOTH of them on the ground “held at gunpoint” for some amount of time before an officer realized the situation.

  • do ur job

    Whatever, they had ample opportunity to contact 911. Even if she couldn’t talk, he could’ve. And their gene pool continues-yea!

  • BubbaGumpShrimp

    Sorry WHO but there is never a good reason for not stopping for the police. Travelling 30 mph over the speed limit not a wise choice as I bet the driver was distracted. Also, had they stopped they could have received a legal escort.

    • harrisbock

      Of course the driver was distracted. His wife was having a baby in the car. I was a volunteer EMT, and we were told to not exceed the speed limit, even with lights and sirens on no matter what was happening…But I have seen many police and highway patrol hauling excessive butt. Highway patrol routinely hits excessive speeds to catch someone who was speeding a little over the limit due to the time it takes to turn around to chase the vehicle. I have had them literally blow past me before I saw them in the mirror or heard the sirens.

  • nunya business

    Good thing this isn’t a story about a husband who lost control of his car and killed his wife and unborn child while trying to rush them to the hospital.

    • harrisbock

      Ever hear of medical chopper crashing or an ambulance getting into a wreck and killing those on board? It has happened and will again. But I guess it is OK when it involves an OFFICIAL vehicle…Or a person who dies while waiting for medical help that is 20-60 min away?

  • Dave

    The officer is probably regretting not shooting at the car and using them as target practice. After all they do get away with “legally” killing a person. We have a culture where police officers are now a triad a gang unto itself protected by the same law they habitually break.

  • brandy

    I had the same thing happen with my son. His head was crowning, my husband stopped for the police and when they saw they escorted us to the er, and had staff waiting and ready for us.

    They should have stopped.

    • harrisbock

      If your son was literally crowning, you were birthing. When the officer saw that, assisted delivery on the spot with EMS coming to you would of been the proper choice. All officers “should” at least be trained to the First Responder level, and that includes assisting a birth. When one is a soon to be parent, with the baby coming and the unknowns about a complicated birth…to the lay person the only thing that matters is that baby.

      • toofargone

        Some women can be crowning but still 20 minutes from the baby coming out. You can see the head and still have a lot of pushing left. Every woman is different.

  • Nora

    Thank God that driver didnt kill his family and himself and upmost innocent people. Why would you call 911 on your cell. Or if you didny have a cel phone. Then once a officer began following you before the chase even began, wouldnt it have been smarter and safer to have had a cop car get your wife to the hospital. Instead of putting others lives in danger. If that incident caused fatalities i bet this story wouldnt have a happy ending . That s so stupid how this story has any praise. The driver was a straight out idiot for doing what he did and still should be fined. PERIOD

  • patricia

    They shouldn’t be charged and its bull crap if they are. The cop should apoligize for being an a## and making her lay on the ground.

    • harrisbock

      After thinking about it more, the story says 911 could not understand the mother due to the contractions and pain. If the mother was able to get out the vehicle type, license number, and baby while sounding like she is freaking out…the dispatcher may of thought abduction and mom is freaking.

  • merinsun

    No, this was not a good reason to speed or drive so wrecklessly. Pull OVER. Call 911, get an escort, or ambulance, or jump in the cop’s car. Those are your options. Having been a woman in labor on a freeway during high traffic time, pull OVER.

  • louibrae

    Did the driver activate his emergency blinkers? When it’s an emergency trip by car to the hospital there are certain precautions the driver must take to avoid placing others and themselves lives at risk. Such as activation your emergency blinkers and you still have to slow down or completely stop at stop signs and traffic lights because there’s no way for other cars to know you’re in an emergency situation on the way to the hospital. And although I’m totally against cops today and his they’ve morphed into responding more like a military occupation rather than _peace officers” serving the public, if the driver didn’t take any precaution himself, then he’s partially to blame for how the copos reponded.

    • harrisbock

      This whole situation is messed up and confusing. A speeding vehicle that won’t stop, a 911 call that could not be understood, no valid information from 911 to the officer of what is really going on…All the officers know is they have a runner and don’t know why. Even though I don’t trust police, all they knew is they had a high speed felony chase and no information on the people inside or if they could be armed. That is a high stress stop. With the obesity rates, it is difficult to tell if a woman is pregnant or simply large. Some chases end with those running opening fire. If the officers actually knew the woman was pregnant and in active labor, they should of taken that into account and been more gentle with her…but it sounds like they did not know the details of the situation. I don’t like to be on the side of officers much, but it does seem like they used the least amount of force. No shots fired and no tazer use.

  • Jim

    Living in Iowa is like living in Haiti. One step below West Virginia! Cops pointing guns at pregnant ladies & Joni Ernst the pig castration lady is leading in the Senate race. Yikes!

  • Deanna

    That couple is selfish and ignorant. They endangered everyone else on the road that day with their drama. 4th child? Come on. You knew what was happening and you chose to act this way. Get over yourselves.

  • Mom if three,Nana of five!

    Apparently all of you saying they should have stopped have never ridden with a woman in labor! My husband certainly did speed to our hospital which was 55?minutes away! A couple months ago, my husband had to be hospitalized. On the way to the hospital(again 55 minutes away) I was going 80 and my husband could not breathe! You better believe I went faster! AND before you judge me, no we have not got a local hospital!!! So to get to my point, never say never and you never know what you will do until you are in a situation. BUT, please at least put your emergency blinkers on!!!!

  • Curtis Anderson

    No he did not!!!!

    This is the kind of reporting that gives our police officers a bad rap. First pregnant woman in Labor, held at gun point by police. The headline is misleading, let’s see where were the couple coming from, Pomeroy which is 31 miles from Fort Dodge, IA (where the couple was finial stopped). Manson where the couple was spotted by the office is about 17 miles from Fort Dodge, by the way the speed limit there is 45 mph. So if they were going 80 to 85 mph that is almost double the speed limit through the city limits. The couple said they tried to call 911 but did not mention they did not call until they had ran over the tire sticks in Fort Dodge. Why did he not call 911 as they were leaving their house (31 miles away) put on their car emergency blinkers or stop when the officer turned on his lights and tell the officer their situation? Then none of this would have happened. Instead he sped past the officer at 80+ mph NEVER SLOWING DOWN. Highway 7 is a very dangerous road with a lot of truck traffic during harvest time. Then there is the deer that are being forced out of the woods during harvest time. Let’s say the officer did not try to stop them and miles down the road the couple crashed and was injured or killed. Even crashed into another couple or young adults and killed them? That would be a story, not bashing the officers for doing their job.
    Held at gun point, let’s see after trying to stop a car for 17 miles at speeds of 85+ mph having to put out spikes, oh the spikes were deployed twice they did not stop at the first set only after driving over the first set and then the second set of spikes did they stop, from what I have heard this is around the time they called 911.
    These people’s arrogant actions and disregard for other safety put not only their lives, but the life of their unborn child, the officers and the unsuspecting people in the community. Let’s ask how many officers were involved in this and could not have their time been better spent protecting and serving our community somewhere else. What if there was a crime, robbery, domestic assault, or fire happening at this time and because they were involved in this situation someone somewhere else lost their life. THINK ABOUT IT.
    These people are not victims but criminal due to their arrogance disregard and disrespect for the law and others safety. That is the story. I which the reports and news stations would stop jumping to conclusions and start investigating first. Police officers put their life on the line every day. I which you people would get it right.

  • patricia d.

    Attention seeking People. You would pretty much have to be a moron to not stop and ask for assistance. Those people were playing the drama card. Takes 2 min. to stop and talk. They should be charged for stupidity.

  • gospace

    Once the lights are on behind you- PULL OVER! That being said, I once passed a marked police car, light bar and all, well in excess of 90 MPH back in double-nickel days. Shortly after midnight. Saw him ahead, put on my turn signal to get in the passing lane, passed, put on my turn signal to get back in lane, and never slowed down. If he had started flashing and following and pulled me over, I would have told him where the fire was. I assume to this day that since I was driving in a straight line, properly using my turn signals so it was obvious I had seen him, that he figured I must have a pretty good reason for flying low. Either that or he was at the end of his shift and already had his ticket quota.

    Never got much above 80 with a pregnant wife beside me in 4 get to the hospital quickly trips. Never got pulled over, and know I passed through speed traps. Can’t explain that.

  • Caressa Shepherd

    Give me a break!!! I understand he needed to pull over, but after that it’s clear he wasn’t some Cracker Jack just blowing up the road, you should’ve gotten over yourselves. Just another case of police all too excited to over react and get their jollies. Seriously lately if they’re not shooting innocent dogs, tasering and killing people that are yelling they can’t breathe, then I guess they are throwing pregnant women and their nervous husbands to the ground for being in labor and in a hurry to the hospital. Get over it and give the guy a break! It’s not like he’s doing it daily. I’m so sad to say I am losing so much respect for the people that are “protecting and serving” it breaks my heart. Wtg guys caught a real criminal this time!

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