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Two Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority officers missed the chance early today to ticket a cab driver for going through a stop sign -- and with good reason.

Instead, they helped deliver a baby -- a bouncing boy -- in the back seat of their patrol car.

The delivery began at about 4:30 a.m., when Officers Timothy O'Neill and Robert McLellan observed a taxi that failed to stop at a stop sign at Perry and Hayward streets.

The officers followed the taxi to its destination in front of 365 Perry St., where an anxious fare was waiting. As the officers prepared to write the summons, they were dissuaded by the expectant mother, Elsie White, 30.

"She was screaming, 'I'm in labor. I'm having my baby,' "O'Neill said.

The officers put their summons book away, forgot about the taxi and rushed Ms. White into the back of their patrol car.

She wanted to go to Sisters Hospital, but the officers, realizing that the stork wasn't going to be that patient, headed for the nearest hospital, Sheehan Memorial.

Even that plan didn't work out. The patrol car -- carrying two men and the woman -- made it to the Sheehan parking lot, whereO'Neill got out and ran to get a doctor.

Too late.

Young Aaron poked his head into the new world in the hospital parking lot.

"It was a good sign when we heard the baby crying," O'Neill said. "He sounded real healthy."

A doctor then came out and cut the umbilical cord.

"It was quite an experience," O'Neill said. "I think we were more excited and worked up than the father."

The baby boy weighed in at 4 pounds, 14 ounces, and was named after his father, Aaron Benn, police said.

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