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Baby Born on PA Turnpike, Homewood Equipment Operator First on Scene

Home News Stories from the Turnpike Baby Born on PA Turpike, Homewood Equipment Operator First on Scene

Nick Holmes takes the Pennsylvania Turnpike to work almost daily. The pull-off area at mile marker 18.1 was just another part of his commute, a landmark that whizzed by unnoticed.

That’s not the case anymore. That spot along on the side of the highway between the Beaver Valley and Cranberry interchanges is where he delivered his newborn daughter. 

Lottie Holmes was born at 7:35 p.m. March 21 on the PA Turnpike, and Equipment Operator Bob Demko was there to help -- 10 minutes before the ambulance arrived.

Demko had been washing his truck at the nearby Homewood Maintenance Facility that evening when an unusual call crackled over the radio.

demko baby story

“It sounded like they said a baby was coming or a baby was coming out,” Demko recalled. “It definitely makes your ears perk up.”

He jumped in his truck and headed toward the pull-off area several miles away, where he found Nick and Sarah Holmes outside of their car.

“I was the first one there, and I got to see a lot of stuff I never in my life thought I’d see,” Demko said. “I don’t have kids, and I told my wife later that I always wanted to witness this, and never thought I would.”

He never thought he’d witness a birth at all – let alone on the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. But there he was, and there was Sarah Holmes, giving birth as Nick Holmes stayed on the phone with 911 delivering the baby. Demko handed them blankets and towels and helped in any way he could.

“I asked them, ‘What do you need?’ And he said, ‘She’s doing all the work,’” Demko said.

For Nick Holmes, a former volunteer firefighter, his training kicked in. 

“I just jumped into action,” Holmes said. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain unless you’re in that position. You think you’d be a nervous wreck, but you know what the end game has to be, and there were no other options at that point.”

With the help of Demko and Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Erik Cox, who arrived shortly after Demko, Lottie came into the world. It was chilly that evening, and the newborn spent nearly two days in the Allegheny Health Network Wexford Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit before going home to New Castle, where she’s doing well with her parents and her big brother, Jace, who is 2 ½.  

For Demko, it was certainly a remarkable day in an 18-year career.

“It was really nice to see something positive happen out there – a new life,” Demko said. “I’m just very happy I could be part of it.”

And as Nick Holmes returns to work at People’s Gas in Gibsonia, taking the Turnpike back and forth, he has a new point of interest along the way.

Mile marker 18.1 – where Lottie was born. 

baby born


 By Steve Marroni, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Communications Specialist