Baby born after mom escapes from burning car

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 29, 2001

Lelsie Sampson holds her newborn baby, Angelina, Friday afternoon at ParkView Regional Medical Center. The baby was born after Sampson escaped a car fire on the way to the hospital. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[01/29/01] A Cary woman gave birth to child Friday morning an hour and a half after the car she was riding in to a Vicksburg hospital burned up.

About halfway on the trip along U.S. 61 South to ParkView Regional Medical Center, the car Leslie Sampson, 22, of Cary, was riding in broke down and caught fire, leaving the pregnant mother, anxious father and their 10-month-old son stranded near the Issaquena County line.

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“I went to call an ambulance and when I got back, I saw flames shooting out of the bottom of the car,” said Sampson’s fiance, David McCown, 24.

Sampson began feeling labor pains Thursday night and by 7:30 Friday morning decided it was time to go to the hospital. A half hour later, she was watching the 1988 Ford station wagon the family had bought two months ago burn up along the side of the highway

“The only thing I was worried about was getting away from the car,” she said.

Patty Sherrill, the wife of McCown’s boss, was also southbound on the highway about the same time and came upon the family and the burning car. Sherrill loaded the father, baby and the mother in labor into her pick-up and continued heading south.

A few miles down the road near Redwood, they meet with the ambulance and transferred the mother to the emergency crew.

Despite the loss of the family’s only transportation, the story ended happily around 9:39 a.m., when Sampson gave birth to a healthy 8-pound, 4-ounce girl the parents named Angelina McCown, after David McCown’s aunt.

“At least they’re all right,” David McCown said. “I can always get a new car.”

Culkin Volunteers responded to the fire, but the vehicle was burned up by the time they arrived shortly after 8 a.m. No one was injured in the blaze.

“I learned two valuable lessons today,” McCown said. “No more babies, and get full coverage insurance.”

Sampson agreed.