Mother delivers baby at gas station

MONROEVILLE Not only was Leon Bruce Runnels too impatient to wait until his January due date, he cou
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Not only was Leon Bruce Runnels too impatient to wait until his January due date, he couldn't even wait for his parents to get to the hospital early Thursday morning.

In what has been deemed a "miracle birth," Leon made his grand entrance to the world in a pick-up truck parked outside Monroeville's Easy Trip gas station.

At about midnight 37-year-old Tina Runnel felt a contraction in her swollen womb. But with a due date nearly four months away, she didn't realize she would be giving birth 1 1/2 hours later.

She and her husband Matthew hopped in his pick-up truck and drove to her sister's home to drop off their 2-year-old daughter Leona at about 1:15 a.m.

From there, the couple headed for the hospital, but they couldn't make it in time.

"(Matthew) said (Tina) was screaming that she knew the baby was coming," said Rita Bragg, describing her nephew's birth. "He said 'No! Hold it in! Let me get to the hospital.'"

When he realized he wouldn't make it there, Matthew pulled into Easy Trip's parking lot where employee Bob Barnes, 52, called 911. Leon -- weighing 2 pounds, 10 ounces -- was born moments later at 1:30 a.m.

Monroeville Police Capt. J. A. Bond was nearby and responded to the scene along with North Central EMS. In the police report, Bond described walking up to the truck and asking where the baby was.

Tina "advised me that the baby was still in her jeans and that she could feel it moving around. Mr. Runnels had placed his jacket over her waist area covering the area where she advised the baby was at."

A North Central EMS crew took the family to Fisher-Titus Medical Center and later drove baby Leon to Toledo Children's Hospital.

"The Monroeville police officer's quick response ... that is the only reason the baby is here with us," Bragg said. "Everybody knew what they were doing."

Doctors weren't sure initially if Leon could survive his premature birth, whichleft him badly bruised and in critical condition.

But by Thursday evening the tiny boy was breathing on his own with the occasional help of a ventilator at Toledo Children's Hospital.

His mom was also doing well, walking around her room at Fisher-Titus Medical Center where she received news of her son's steady progress.

"He's our miracle," Tina told Bragg, crying tears of joy.

Bragg said her sister and brother-in-law were thankful for Leon's miracle birth.

"The pediatrician said she's just amazed with him because he's so tiny and yet he was doing so well," Bragg said.