Family Remembers Man Killed in Storm

By: Eyewitness News, Angelica Alvarez, Mike Springer Email
By: Eyewitness News, Angelica Alvarez, Mike Springer Email

Tallahassee, FL April 6, 2012 -

"I want this town and this part of the country to know that they just didn't lose another guy. He was a great guy. I want them to know Tallahassee had a son who had a big body for many people," says Ricardo Cruz, Daniel Butler's Brother-in-Law.

That son is 38-year-old Daniel Butler. Butler was working in his backyard when Tuesday's storm 4-3-12 hit. Butler was heading for the house when a gust of wind brought a tree down on top of him.

"He was just an incredible life. He had so much to give. So much to teach people," says Cruz.

The newly wed computer programmer taught himself to play guitar. He collected old blues records. But it was nature that was Butler's escape, taking frequent canoe rides with his family, friends and wife Liset.

"He built an office back there because he wanted to kind of make a combination of all his technical part and being with nature and being in contact with nature," says Cruz.

But Cruz says it's Butler's unselfishness that stands out."
"If he sees something where he could help, he would do it," says Cruz.

Butler moved to Tallahassee three years ago. He married his wife Liset, last month.
[UPDATE] April 6, 2012 - Noon -

The storms that swept across our region on April 3rd are now being blamed for a Tallahassee man's death.

Deputies have identified that man as 38-year-old James Butler. Butler had been standing in his yard on the afternoon of April 3rd when strong wind gusts brought down a tree which landed on him.

Butler was taken to TMH. He died last night.

Deputies don't believe anyone else was injured in that storm, but it caused a lot of damage. There was a tree that fell on a car off of Meridian Road and there was a home nearby that was also damaged by the storm. That homeowner says the storm ripped a hole in his roof and left tons of branches in his yard.

We'll have much more on this story later tonight on Eyewitness News


[UPDATE] April 4, 2012

Just before 11 p.m. Tuesday night, hundreds of people were still without power after a strong storm swept through the area. That afternoon storm left behind a trail of destruction and leaving residents in clean up mode tonight.

"I'm blessed, I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth, " said Tallahassee resident, Jay Jackson.

The brief but powerful storm that ripped through the area is causing many to count their blessings. He says a tree fell on him.

Jackson was driving on Meridian Road near Orchard Pond when a tree fell on his truck.

He said, "I stepped out and realized I was alive and blessed and I got my arms and feet, so all is good."

Over on Jackson Cove off Old Bainbridge just north of Highway 27, Rebecca Hollingsworth walked out of her front door to see a tree had fallen on her car. It crushed her trunk.

"It just came out of no where, you didn't have any warning what so ever," said Hollingsworth.

And for Mark Garrett's family just down the road, he says his children had just been dropped off by the school bus when the storm rolled in. Now he has a hole in the roof and a yard full of broken trees. But he echoes what many who had close calls say, that he is grateful he and his family are safe.

Leon County Sheriff's deputies say a man was hit by a fallen tree off Old Bainbridge. We're told it was not a fatal injury but at last check his condition was still not known.


Updated by Lanetra Bennett -- April 3, 2012 -- 6:35pm

Tallahassee driver Jay Jackson is calling himself the "luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Jackson managed to make it out of this crushed truck alive.

A tree fell on top of his pick-up around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson says he'd turned right off of Orchard Pond Road onto Meridian Road. He says, all of a sudden, the tree landed on his truck.

Jackson says, "I leaned to the left and the center crushed down and I hit the brakes and came to a slow stop and stepped out and realized I was alive and I was blessed. I looked, I got my arms and feet and so all is good, all is well."

Jackson only had a few scrapes and scratches on his body.

The road was completely blocked off until work crews were able to cut the tree up and move it out of the road.


Tallahassee, FL -- April 3, 2012 --

Leon County Sheriff's office has told WCTV of downed trees and car crashes with possible injures because of the severe weather.

Details have not been released as to when and where the crashes have taken place.

Sources have told us about a a 6-foot tree blocking the Old Bainbridge Road area near the intersection of Jackson Cove. We have also heard that Meridian Road is closed near Orchard Pond because a tree fell on a truck.

We have included a picture that one of our viewers sent of damage, if you have any pictures you would like to share. Post them on Eye-report or send them our newsroom at

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by The Taxpay Yours on May 14, 2012 at 01:28 PM
    They should build more and more prisons ran by a private company instead of the Florida Department of Collections.
  • by i know he is happy Location: tally on Apr 8, 2012 at 05:37 PM
    He is with daniel boon and gentle ben and grisley adams now.
  • by friend Location: leon on Apr 7, 2012 at 10:01 PM
    he like nature and nature killed him.
    • reply
      by Liset on Apr 8, 2012 at 05:20 AM in reply to friend
      Nature is nature. men are just part of it. we are not and we will never be stronger than nature. Nature follows its course. This is just a freak accident. It would have been worse if he had been killed by people. This is not the way he wanted to be remembered, anonymous 01:01 am. This is not the way he understood life. Being angry with nature is a natural but illogical reaction. I am not.
  • by Ivette Naranjo Location: Newnan. GA on Apr 7, 2012 at 05:25 PM
    I'm sorry about it, actually he was in my house about a year ago 4 a Pink Floyd concert. He recently got married and he was full of life. Rest in peace Daniel.
  • by Rossana Location: Havana, Cuba on Apr 6, 2012 at 06:53 PM
    Daniel became a member of our family just one month ago, when he oficially married my cousin. We are not close to him but he was like a son for my aunt with a lot of peace in their home. His dead look like a bad joke, not only because it was a young man with a young marriage but also because he strongly loved Nature. This was sudden, unexpected, devastating and not fair. Rest in peace, Daniel Butler.
  • by STEVE on Apr 6, 2012 at 02:39 PM
    My condolences to the Butler family.
  • by Kat Location: Tally on Apr 6, 2012 at 12:50 PM
    Please post a picture of James as soon as possible. I really think this is someone I knew a long time ago. No matter who he is or whether I knew him or not, please know that this is heartbreaking and my thoughts are with the family and friends of this young man.
  • by sommerdal on Apr 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM
    All he (or she - no gender preference is specified) means by "mini tornado" is that it was a small event with pinpoint damage - as opposed to a mile wide wedge storm with a 61-mile long path. That doesn't lessen the impact to those involved.

    I'm sure he is sorry for not being as perfectly clear in communicating as you do obviously are - since you felt the need to berate him for calling it what he thought it was.
  • by Jay Jackson Location: Tallahassee on Apr 5, 2012 at 05:02 AM
    I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the personnel of the Bradfordville Fire Dept and the leon county sheriffs dept for their assistance during this ordeal.I really appreciate the words of encouragement and your truly caring for my health and safety. Words truly cant express how I feel.
  • by patrick Location: florida on Apr 4, 2012 at 03:01 PM
    that was my dad. everythings fine besides his truck and he is sore.
  • Page:
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 145993335 -
Gray Television, Inc.