2008-07-11 / Top Stories

DA: Drunken Car Crash Kills Two

By Nicholas Briano

Heartbroken Denise Tillman, the longtime girlfriend of victim Nelson Garfield, is pictured with him in a recent photo. Heartbroken Denise Tillman, the longtime girlfriend of victim Nelson Garfield, is pictured with him in a recent photo. A Far Rockaway motorist, allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, killed two of his three friends, who were passengers in his automobile, during the early morning hours following the Fourth of July, when his car hydroplaned out of control and smashed though the front of a Rosedale carpet outlet, police said.

Police identified the driver as Stephen Bush, 28, of 29-10 Coldspring Road. He was allegedly speeding down rain-soaked Rockaway Boulevard just inside the city line, traveling at an estimated 60 miles-per-hour at about 3:30 a.m., when he lost control of his 2005 Cadillac near the Brookville Boulevard intersection.

The car jumped the curb and slammed into the carpet store after the vehicle hydroplaned across three lanes, according to police reports.

Authorities reported to the scene within minutes to transport the three passengers and driver to the hospital.

Bush's mishap at the wheel cost the two victims their lives, police say.

The two friends who died in the crash were identified by police as Garfield Nelson, 33, and Wayne Burnette, 29, both of Far Rockaway.

The third passenger, a 27-year-old unidentified man, was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released.

Denise Tillman, Nelson's girlfriend of six years, says the men in the car were close friends, and she is heartbroken about what happened.

"I loved him to death," she said. "He was the perfect man who was always there for me."

She said her two children, Nyshae, 10, and Aniyah, 6, looked up to Nelson as a father figure who had been a major part of their lives.

Bush, the driver and the only person not injured in the crash, was arrested at the scene.

He is charged with two counts of second degree vehicular manslaughter, second degree manslaughter and two more counts of criminally negligent homicide, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Bush was found to be drunk at the scene and was also charged with driving while intoxicated and under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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