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Sandy a 'Disaster' That Killed Well-Liked Jefferson Man

Bruce Latteri, 51, remembered as a 'nice man' by close-knit neighborhood in Milton section of town.

Nobody knew exactly what to expect Monday night as Superstorm Sandy pummeled through the Northeast.

No matter how much you tried to get ready for the storm, there was no  preparing for what happened on Nicole Court early Tuesday morning, when a tree crashed on 51-year-old Bruce Latteri's home and killed him.

The Jefferson resident, described by neighbors as "thoughtful," "nice" and "friendly," was just doing what most other residents were doing during the storm.

Just sitting home, waiting for it to pass.

But in an unfortunate twist of fate, neighbors said Latteri's decision to go home that night was something he almost didn't do.

According to next-door neighbor Albert Gerald, Latteri lost power early in the night and got nervous when a tree fell in his driveway, so he headed next door to Gerald's home.

Gerald said the two watched a movie and hung out until about 11 p.m. Monday, when Latteri insisted he should go home because he wasn't feeling well.

However, several hours later a second tree came down on Latteri's property, this time through his home, crushing him while he was sitting in a chair.

The tragic death has left the neighborhood stunned, with his demolished home still clearly visible to nearby residents.

Gerald, who might have been the last to see Latteri alive, described the neighborhood as a "disaster" area, with his neighbor's home the worst of what the Milton section of the township experienced.

Gerald had several trees come down on his own home, crushing his car and is still blocking his front door.

Tom Padham, Latteri's next-door neighbor on the other side, had trees crash in his driveway, causing minor damage to his car.

Padham was the first one on Latteri's property after the tree crushed his neighbor's home.

He said he immediately got the attention of other neighbors who called 911 as he tried to find and save Latteri through the debris.

"I started pulling shingles and everything from the roof off," Padham said.

Padham said he heard Latteri's dog barking, which guided him to where he was.

Gerald said Latteri loved his dog, and was also part of the reason he decided to return home late Monday night.

"He wanted to get home to his dog," Gerald said. "That was his main concern."

Latteri's German Shepard, Hope, survived the storm and is currently being held in a shelter. Padham said a neighbor is trying to adopt him.

Padham's wife, Evelyn, like many neighbors, said how nice Latteri was.

"He was just a nice man, a very, very nice man," she said. "I can't say a bad thing about him. Every time we'd see him outside, we'd speak."

Neighbors said Latteri wasn't working recently because he was sick, and was on dialysis. They also said he usually kept to himself, and was living alone.

Evelyn Padham said despite his condition, Latteri always had a positive outlook on life.

The close-knit wooded neighborhood on Nicole Court will never forget that night.

"You just can't believe it," Gerald said. "It's just a disaster."

ron witzal November 06, 2012 at 07:15 PM
u butchered this story and got every name wrong
ron witzal November 06, 2012 at 07:17 PM
fix the names. very unprofessional

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