20 years later, local cop reunites with man he helped deliver on I-85


Highlights

An officer in Gwinnett County recalls the 1997 incident.

The man he helped bring into the world gets to say thanks.

On that July night in 1997, a bad crash had backed up I-85 near Norcross. 

Suwanee police Officer Elton Hassell was caught in the jam, and so were the soon-to-be parents of Yelsin Vazquez — a baby boy who was picking the most inopportune time to enter the world.

“I stepped out of my truck and I looked,” Hassell told Channel 2 Action News this week, after reuniting with Vazquez for the first time. “She was in childbirth and I looked down and I saw part of a head and a full head of hair.”

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The boy’s parents were panicked, Channel 2 reported, so Hassell helped with the delivery. 

It wasn’t something the officer had ever done before. But he likely saved the newborn’s life, too. 

“The [umbilical] cord was around its neck and his face was blue,” Hassell said. “His lips were blue.”

Hassell unwrapped the cord from the baby’s neck on that night 20 years ago — and on Thursday, Vazquez finally got to say thank you. 

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Vazquez and Hassell met each other for the first time in Suwanee. Vazquez, who has a family of his own now, declined to speak to Channel 2 on camera but said he was very grateful for Hassell’s actions that night. 

It was an emotional evening for the officer, too.

“I hugged him,” Hassell told Channel 2. “I said, ‘Look, we’re family. I brought you into this world.’”

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