Jan. 6, 2011 — -- John Coughlin put the pedal to the medal and rushed his pregnant wife to the hospital, arriving with only six minutes to spare before his son was born. In addition to bringing their newborn home, the new father also got a speeding ticket.
"[The officer] said, 'Congratulations on your son, and the bad news is that I am going to have to see you in court,'" Coughlin recalled.
John and Angela Coughlin were en route to the Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., in the early morning of Sept. 18 when a state trooper pulled out from a rest-stop area and began following the Coughlins. John Coughlin said his wife's water had broken during the drive to the hospital, so he made his family's safety his first priority and sped to the emergency room.
"I knew I just had to get them to safety and I knew I could make it to the hospital," he said on "Good Morning America" today.
Coughlin called 911 so police would not think that he was trying to outrun an officer.
"My wife's in labor. Her water just broke. I'm just on my way to the hospital," he can be heard on a recording telling a 911 dispatcher as his wife screamed in the background in agony.
"I knew that he was trying to pull me over so I thought the best thing to do was call 911 and let them know that I was going this fast for a reason," he said.
The officer drove in front of the Coughlins and guided them safely to the emergency room.
"911 got in touch with him [the trooper], he escorted me the rest of the way to the hospital and then waited in the emergency room while we gave birth and then handed me the ticket," Coughlin said.
Clocked at 102 MPH
Coughlin said that when he got the ticket he just put it in his pocket and walked upstairs to meet his wife. He said he was in a "different moment at the time" and couldn't think about the speeding ticket.
When her husband told her about the ticket, Angela Coughlin "was shocked, I couldn't believe it," she said.
The New Hampshire state trooper clocked their car traveling at 102 mph on Interstate 293, where the speed limit is 55. But Coughlin said he had no idea how fast he was going and was mostly concerned for the safety of his wife and unborn child.
"I didn't realize how fast I was going at all until he gave me the ticket," he said.
State police Col. Robert Quinn told the New Hampshire Union Leader, "You can't drive at a speed that is so unsafe to yourself and others. That's why we have 911, that's why we have ambulances."
The Coughlin family is fighting the ticket because they say if he pleads guilty and pays the fine, Coughlin could lose his driver's license. They have been to court once and are returning Monday.
"I thought once we went to the first court date that it would just get thrown out; I thought it was just nonsense," Angela Coughlin said. "I thought maybe he had to write us a ticket because we had called it in but I didn't know it would escalate this far."
John Coughlin is hopeful that the judge will throw out the case because of the unique nature of the situation.
Both parents report that son Kyle is healthy and happy.