On January 22, Desiree Strout, 27, was behind the wheel of her 2005 Chevy Trailblazer, headed to a Maine hospital to induce labor.
At nine months pregnant, Strout was preparing for the birth of her third child.
As People reports, Strout, her husband, Harry Weeks, 29, and 8-year-old daughter were just five miles away from the hospital when Strout hit a patch of black ice and lost control of the car. The vehicle slid off the road and into a snowy embankment where it then landed on its side on a frozen pond, confirmed Police Skowhegan Police Chief David Bucknam.
Speed was not a factor, as Bucknam told reporters:
“She just hit the black ice and lost control.”
Bucknam told People when first responders arrived at the scene of the crash, “the decision was made to pull Desiree to the side of the pond where rescue personnel could give Desiree medical attention as she had stopped breathing.” Strout passed away in the ambulance en route to the hospital.
According to The Kennebec Journal, Strout’s baby was born via emergency Cesarian section at Redington-Fairview General Hospital. The baby was listed in critical condition and transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center.
— Kennebec Journal (@KJ_Online) January 23, 2018
Officials have not commented on the baby’s condition but a spokesperson for the hospital released a statement on behalf of the family, asking for privacy during this “incredibly difficult time,” reports People.
A post for the family on GoFundMe states the family is “unsure” if Strout’s baby boy will pull through:
We’re still unsure if the newest member of our family will make it.
A family friend, Franny MacMichael Clark, described Strout to The Kennebec Journal as “very loving”:
“The times that I was around her, she was a very loving mother. Her oldest daughter, Delanie, is such a smart little cookie and I know Desiree home-schooled her kids, so you could tell, it was evident, that she spent a lot of time with them and teaching them. She was a sweetheart — her parents are my neighbors.”
Another friend, Brandon Blodgett, called the mother-of-three “amazing.” He told People:
“She had this wicked bubbly personality, and was always so chipper. You liked to be around her. She was an amazing mother.”
Strout’s husband reportedly suffered a punctured lung and a laceration to his liver as a result of the accident. Their 8-year-old daughter is reported to have sustained minor injuries. The couple’s younger daughter was not in the car at the time of the accident, according to People.
The post on GoFundMe states the young mother’s family “is nothing if not strong and united” following the loss of their loved one:
When something happens to one of us, it happens to us all.
Buckman told People he will be recognizing the efforts of first responders, Officer Christopher Viera and firefighter Jason Front, who responded to the scene and tended to Strout, “for their quick actions that saved the life of the unborn child.”