Police: Taconic crash victim drunk, high during fatal accident
She wasn't sick.
She was drunk and high on pot.The West Babylon mom who killed eight people including herself in a head-on
collision while driving the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway had 2 ½ times the legal limit for alcohol in her body, smoked pot within an hour of the crash and had bottle of Absolut vodka in her red Ford minivan, officials said yesterday. Diane Schuler, 36, downed 10 drinks and had a blood-alcohol level of
0.19 during the horrific July 26 accident that killed her 2-year-old daughter,
three young nieces and three men and in the SUV she slammed into, said
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. “With that level of alcohol ... she would have had difficulty
with perception, with her judgment with her memory,” said Betsy Spratt, chief toxicologist for the Westchester County Medical Examiner. “You start to get what we call tunnel vision.” While officials said they couldn’t determine what kind of alcohol she drank,
a broken 1.75 litre bottle of Absolute vodka was found at the crash scene.
And tests showed that she had smoked pot between 15 minutes and an hour before the crash. Six grams of alcohol were found in Schuler’s stomach and a “high level” — 113 nanograms per milliliter — of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, was in her system, the autopsy revealed. Schuler drove 1.7 miles the wrong way on the Taconic in Westchester before crashing into the Chevy Trailblazer, killing three men from Yonkers
inside: Guy Bastardi, 49, his 79-year-old father, Michael, and their friend
Daniel Longo, 74, police said. The lingering question has been whether Schuler was ill, suicidal or
under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Schuler called her brother -- the
father of the three nieces who died -- 30 minutes before the 1:30 crash,
saying she was disoriented and feeling ill. Heading home from a campground in upstate Sullivan County, witnesses said Schuler was straddling two lanes, tailgating, flashing her headlights and beeping the
Schuler's husband, Daniel Schuler, told investigators that everything seemed
fine when he and his wife left the campground at about 9:30 a.m. He went on
a fishing trip, while his wife headed home with the children. Schuler’s brother’s kids -- Emma Hance, 8; Alyson, 7; and Kate, 5; were killed, along with her daughter, Erin. The sole survivor, her 5-year-old son Bryan, remains hospitalized. Michael Bastardi Jr., told the N.Y. Post that he was "in disbelief" at the autopsy results. "How could you jump in a car with five kids and drink? We want to get to the truth."
Schuler’s family had no immediate comment yesterday and police said they are attempting to get more information from them. It is unlikely, however, that criminal charges will be filed, officials said. (With AP)