New York Daily News

February 14, 2005

Horrific crash kills cop

2nd driver's daughter dies on way home from her b'day party

Officer Jehova DelgadoAn off-duty NYPD cop working extra hours to buy his parents a new home in Mexico was killed in Brooklyn early yesterday in a horrific car crash that left the other driver's daughter dead, police said.

Jehova Delgado, 27, was on his way in for an overtime shift in the 75th Precinct when an SUV blew a stop sign and rammed his car about 5:30 a.m. Delgado was hurled from his Honda Civic onto a Bushwick sidewalk.

"It sounded like an explosion," Harold Benn, 44, said. "When I got outside, I saw people lying all over the street."

A few yards from Delgado, Shannay Branch, 19, lay dead, stuck in the moonroof of her father's overturned and twisted Ford Expedition. Her injured father, identified by cops as Gary Wilkerson, 39, stood weeping over her body.

Wilkerson was driving an SUV packed with seven family members and friends home from an early birthday party for his daughter.

Cops believe he ran a stop sign on Putnam Ave. and broadsided Delgado's car as it headed east on Central Ave.

Wilkerson and passenger Keyshawn Corbett, who suffered a broken arm and leg, disappeared for a few hours before stumbling into Brookdale University Hospital, cops said.

Detectives, who are probing whether Wilkerson was drunk, briefly questioned him before he fainted. He was in critical condition last night.

The rest of Branch's injured pals and relatives, including her sister Shavonne, 17, crawled out of the SUV and screamed for help before being taken to Brookdale and Bellevue hospitals. None suffered life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, fellow officers mourned Delgado, who joined the force in July 2001.

He was working overtime in the hope of buying a new house in Mexico for his parents. "All he ever thought about was getting his family out of" New York, said Officer David Mahmoud. "He was very proud of his Mexican heritage."

Delgado, a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a parishioner at All Saints Church in Brooklyn, lived in the Tompkins Houses with his mom, sister and brother Ted, while his father stayed in Mexico. His mother was visiting yesterday in Mexico, where Ted Delgado flew to break the news to his parents.

Another brother, Leo Delgado, 31, an elevator mechanic from the Bronx, called his sibling "selfless."

"He took care of my mother," Leo Delgado said. "He wanted to buy her a house.

"He was a good kid who grew up to be a good man."

Branch, a Sears telephone operator who would have turned 20 next Sunday, was pronounced dead on arrival at Bellevue Hospital. She graduated from a North Carolina high school before moving into her grandmother's Bushwick Ave. apartment six months ago.

"It's a tragedy that something like this could happen," said her brother-in-law Marvin Blacke, 19. "She was filled with love."

With Kerry Burke and Bill Egbert