New York Post
February 14, 2005

CRASH KILLS COP

By C.J. SULLIVAN, LARRY CELONA and DAN MANGAN

A Brooklyn dad who drank and then drove his daughter and pals home from her 20th-birthday bash smashed into a car driven by an off-duty cop — killing the officer and the young woman before fleeing the scene, police said.

The impact threw the officer, Jehova Delgado, 27, from his car, impaling him on a fence, sources said.

"I ran outside and saw two dead people on the ground — a man and a woman — and a bunch of people wandering around with bloody faces and broken arms and legs," said Harold Benn, who called 911 after the 5:35 a.m. tragedy at Central and Putnam avenues in Bushwick.

Delgado, who joined the NYPD in 2001 and was assigned to the 75th Precinct, had not been scheduled to work yesterday. But he took the morning shift to make overtime, law-enforcement sources said.

The other car, driven by Gary Wilkerson, was carrying his daughter, Shannay Branch, and six pals. They were coming back from the party in Ridgewood, Queens.

Wilkerson's Ford blew through a stop sign and slammed into the cop's car, police said.

"The guy didn't even slow down. He [Delgado] never had a chance," said an officer at the scene.

Delgado's sister, Patricia, whom he was helping put through college, said her brother had wanted to be a cop "since he was a little kid."

She described him as a "jokester" who "was always a kid at heart."

A brother will go to Mexico, where Delgado's parents are vacationing, to bring them back.

"My mother is destroyed by this," the sister said.

"They were very close. She's very distraught."

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association board member John Giangrasso, who once worked with Delgado, called him "a hardworking cop who did a lot of overtime to support his family."

About five hours after the crash, Wilkerson, 39, showed up at Brookdale Hospital, where he spoke to police and collapsed.

He was charged with manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving speeding, passing a stop sign and driving while impaired by alcohol, a police source said.

"He showed up here because he knew his daughter was brought here DOA, and he admitted he was the driver to the police," said Edward Jones, 37, whose two nephews were passengers.

"While talking to the cops, he passed out inside. He leaned against the wall and just slipped down.

"He was really distraught."

Also injured were five of Wilkerson's passengers: three 17-year-old girls and two 20-year-old men.

Additional reporting by Roosevelt Joseph, Philip Messing, Perry Chiaramonte and Jeremy Sparig