Jodie Guthrie was sitting outside a drug store when an elderly driver accidentally accelerated while parking and pinned the pregnant mom against a wall, killing her and forcing doctors to perform emergency surgery to save her 35-week-old baby.
Guthrie was declared dead after being taken to a hospital, but doctors were able to deliver her nearly full-term baby by Caesarian section. The baby, named Trace Joseph, was listed in critical condition.
The baby’s father, George Weatherwalk, said doctors are now assessing whether the boy suffered brain damage when he and his mother were deprived of oxygen.
“Whenever she got struck by the car, the lack of oxygen that she lost, he also lost. So they’re saying they don’t know whether anything is wrong with his brain,” Weatherwalk said.
Witnesses said the 88-year-old motorist was trying to pull into a parking space when he hit the gas instead of the brake, sending the minivan sailing past the parking space to a walkway where Jodie Guthrie was standing.
Afterward witnesses said the man appeared to be confused, and may not have known that he struck Guthrie.
“He appeared to be disoriented at that point in time and confused as to the directions they were giving him,” said police Commander RaShall Brackney.
The driver has not been charged, and his family members are apologizing to Guthrie’s family.
“I can’t imagine what her family is going through right now,” the driver’s granddaughter, Candy Thompson, told KDKA-TV. “They are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Weatherwalk said the last time he saw fiancé Jodie Guthrie alive she had surprised him by setting up a play pen and other baby supplies. The boy was due in two weeks.
“This wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Weatherwalk told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. “He wasn’t supposed to be born like this. We were supposed to be happy.”
Weatherwalk said he does not know how he will be able to raise the son after the death of Jodie Guthrie, but said he wants the boy to know how much his mother wanted to be there for him.