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Long IslandCrime

Fiancee of crash victim: 'I'm destroyed'

A memorial has been posted on a utility

A memorial has been posted on a utility pole across the street from Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow where a police say Eddie Cotto of Lindenhurst was struck and killed by a drunken driver. (July 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Eddie A. Cotto called the Cape Cod house on 34th Street in Lindenhurst "paradise," his fiancee said Friday.

"It was perfect for us," Diane Ware said of the house she purchased in 2006. "He loved it there."

Cotto, 50, an unemployed house painter, was fatally struck Thursday by what police say was a drunken driver while crossing Hempstead Turnpike after leaving Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Cotto had gone to the hospital, Ware said, to get help dealing with stress from a mortgage foreclosure on the home and the struggle to support his 13-year-old daughter and Ware's four children, ages 6 to 15.

"I'm destroyed," said Ware, 40. "He was my best friend. I'm going to miss him. The kids are going to miss him."

Ware said she started dating Cotto six years ago.

"He was a family man who stayed home with the kids and took care of everybody," she said.

On Friday, Ware attended the Hempstead arraignment of Robert W. Core, 42, on vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated charges, and later emerged holding two photographs of Cotto.

"This guy should rot in jail for what he did," she sobbed.

Edwin Cotto, Cotto's brother, said outside the courtroom that his brother was a family man and a "good father" who loved horse racing.

"We want some justice," Edwin Cotto said.

With Matthew Chayes

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