The plea started out like many GoFundMe pages with an entreaty to help raise $10,000.
But unlike pages set up to pay outrageous medical bills or cover funeral expenses, Jan Michael Nieves Delgado, 22, took to the popular crowdfunding site for a different reason.
“Back in 2014 I made a big mistake while being enlisted in the Army, ended up being kicked out unfairly and even though I got probation since I was involved in an accident, now I have to pay $10,000 in restitution to fix all damages,” Nieves wrote on the account created in June.
It continues, “It’s been really hard to pay that much back when you have probation and it becomes so hard to find a job and then when you find a job you don’t make enough. Please help me pay back and get some weight off my shoulders.”
What was his big “mistake?”
He made the choice to with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .118, according to the police, which resulted in the deaths of two innocent men. In what family members call an insult, the offender received a 10-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay $10,000 — $5,000 to each of the families who will live a lifetime without their loved ones.
That’s the weight he wants “off his shoulders.”
“Is $5,000 worth a man’s life,” asked Monica Broadstreet, whose husband, Jimmy Joe Broadstreet, was one of the two men killed by Delgado. “I would gladly give $100,000 if I could have my husband back. He (Delgado)
deserves to struggle, to remember what he’s done because God knows I will. Does he think it is easy for me now? It’s not. It’s a struggle.”
The day before Mother’s Day in 2014 and Monica and Jimmy fell asleep after watching movies together. Monica woke Jimmy up, so he could go to work. Jimmy planned to work overtime so he could attend a rodeo later in the month.
“I still wonder if I had never woken him up, would he still be here?” said Monica, who met Jimmy 25 years ago and were married 23 of those years.
Delgado was driving fast the wrong way at 78 miles an hour in a freeway construction zone. He hit James Green, throwing him over a construction crane killing him instantly. The massive force of the impact pinned Jimmy and moved the 2,000-pound counter-weight for the crane.
That early morning of the crash, Monica woke up to headlights in her driveway. The wife of Jimmy’s boss told Monica Jimmy was hurt, in the hospital and may lose his leg.
“I started to prepare myself mentally so that I could let Jimmy know that everything was going to be okay. I immediately started thinking I was going to tell Jimmy how much I loved him and that it didn’t matter we could live with that. My plan was that I would stay home to take care of him. It was going to be okay because we would have each other.”
After arriving at the hospital, Monica, a nurse, fought her way into the surgery room. Jimmy was practically in a coma as he lost so much blood. One of his legs had already been amputated. Transfusion after transfusion took place. A second medical team replaced the exhausted first team after operations stretched past 10 hours.
Throughout it all, Monica held Jimmy’s hand.
“He always wanted to be touching me, so I held his hand. If I let go, he would reach back out for it,” said Monica. “I knew he understood that I was there by his side.” I said to Jimmy, “I love you. I will always love you. I’ll take care of everything,’ I know he heard me as I saw a tear fall from his face.”
Then, the doctors shared that their efforts weren’t making progress and, worse, were probably hurting Jimmy. They asked Monica to make the call no family member ever wants to make – to stop.
With a heavy heart, Monica made “the most difficult decision of her life and let Jimmy go.”
Mother’s Day came and went. A chocolate cake made by Jessica, his daughter, remained uneaten. She had made it especially for Jimmy as he loved sweets.
“Everybody that met him loved him,” Jessica said. “He tried to appear tough, but he was an old softie. He simply couldn’t say no to someone who needed help.”
Monica added, “That’s how I ended up with so many dogs.”
Monica was processing her grief so Jessica was the pillar of strength during the criminal justice process.
“It was hard. We thought there was so much evidence on this guy – blood results, texts messages, the computer from his car. How could the jury not charge him with intoxicated manslaughter?” said Jessica. “It was hard, but I tried to be strong because my mom needed me. I lost all hope in the justice system.”
A jury convicted Delgado of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The offender posts to social media
Monica uses Facebook to find recipes and read the jokes people post to her thread.
But what she saw October 2nd shocked her.
“I don’t know how it made it to my page, but I saw his [the offender’s] GoFundMe message,” she said. “I don’t usually comment, but I did that day. There was much left unsaid, but I wanted him to know that I will struggle for the rest of my life.”
The page was taken down before any funds were raised. Jimmy’s family wants the site will make it impossible for these type of fundraisers to even be posted.
“We were upset to learn that this convicted offender would make a plea to the community to pay for his choices to drink, drive and kill two men,” said MADD West Texas Victim Services Specialist, Angelica Lomeli. “The offender needs to take accountability and ownership for his decision.”
Delgado may face consequences for trying to dodge his responsibilities. Later this month, a probation status hearing will take place.
For Monica and her family, they continue to pick up the pieces.
“My best friend, everything I’ve ever loved, is gone. My daughters lost their father figure, My grandson lost his grandfather, my step-children lost their father. Hundreds of people lost a dear friend. His mom lost her son. His sister lost her brother.”
“So many people lost this awesome man and the offender doesn’t even realize the impact he has made on this earth by taking him from us,” she said.