Tragedy on the Taconic: Diane Schuler

On July 26, 2009 Diane Schuler killed herself and seven others when she drove the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway.

Schuler, a 36-year-old Long Island mother of two, was at the wheel, drunk and high, headed south at 70 mph in the northbound lane.

On that bright sunny day 10 years ago, families were shattered in a fiery crash that killed eight, including four girls, ages 2 to 8.

The accident is said to be the worst accident in Westchester County, NY. in 75 years.

At first there was speculation that Schuler had a medical emergency which led to the accident, as she seemed fine to witnesses who saw her prior, but eventually toxicology results revealed that she was driving under the influence.

Schuler’s BAC was discovered to be .19, double the legal limit, and that she had smoked marijuana as early as 15 minutes before the accident.

A broken, 1.75-liter bottle of Absolut vodka was also found in the wrecked minivan.

Volunteer fire chief Joseph LaGrippo, one of the first at the scene of the horrific Taconic crash, described it as something “no human should have to see.”

“I’ll never forget what happened that day.”

– Joseph LaGrippo

The Accident:

It all began when Schuler took off the wrong way on the Taconic in a van filled with her two children, Erin, 2, Bryan, 5, and three nieces, Emma Hance, 8, Alyson Hance, 7, and Katie Hance, 5.

Schuler’s vehicle sped down the parkway for 1.7 miles before crashing head-on into a SUV driven by Guy Bastardi, 49. Bastardi’s car was also carrying his father Michael Bastardi, 81, and their friend Daniel Longo, 74.

Schuler’s 5-year-old son, Bryan, was the sole survivor of the accident.

“That’s the only thing that made it bearable, that boy,” LaGrippo said.

Schuler’s minivan was in flames, the Bastardis’ SUV was decimated and bodies of dead and dying children were lying on the parkway.

“It was the worst thing I’ve seen in 24 years,” said state Police Capt. Arthur Boyko of Troop K. “The ages of the victims and the nature of the accident made it harder.”

Panicked calls to 911 poured in immediately following the accident.

911 Call Transcript:

911 operator: Sleepy Hollow Police 911 emergency.

Caller: There’s an accident. Route 117, what is this? Pleasantville Road.

911 operator: Ma’am? Ma’am?

Caller: Good God. Wait a second I’m not from around here. Hold on hold on.

(Phone is given to someone else)

Second caller: We’re on the Taconic going northbound by the Sleepy Hollow/Pleasantville exit Route 117.

911 operator: Route 117 and Taconic?

Second caller: Yes we’re on the Taconic going northbound right by the exit for Sleepy Hollow/Pleasantville.

911 operator: Sleepy Hollow, Pleasantville?

Second caller: Yes.

911 operator: Are there any injuries?

Second caller: I really don’t know. Hold on, let me check it out. Hold on. Um, honestly. Hold on. I really don’t know. Um yeah there are. There’s like little kids — the kids not moving. Yeah, there’s whole bunch of kids. Honestly the car is smashed…

911 operator: OK. No problem.

Second caller: The car is missing pieces.

911 operator: OK, I’ll call.

Second caller: It’s really bad, the kids are bleeding.

Although the toxicology report stated that Schuler was heavily intoxicated, Schuler’s husband, Daniel, has consistently denied that she abused drugs or alcohol, and has made multiple media appearances to defend his wife.

He called for further investigation into other possible medical causes for her erratic driving.

Leading up to the accident:

At approximately 9:30 AM on Sunday, July 26, 2009, Schuler left the Hunter Lake Campground in Parksville, New York, in a red 2003 Ford Windstar. Riding with Schuler were her 5-year-old son, 2-year-old daughter, and her brother’s three daughters (ages 8, 7, and 5).

Her husband, Daniel Schuler, left the campground at the same time in a separate vehicle.

A co-owner of the campground later said that Diane appeared sober when she departed.

On the way to West Babylon, New York, Schuler stopped at a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant and a gas station in Liberty, New York.

While at the gas station, she attempted to buy over-the-counter pain medication, but the store did not sell any.

Schuler left Liberty just after 11 AM, traveling along Route 17/Interstate 86 and Interstate 87, entering the Ramapo service area, and crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge, heading east.

Witnesses later reported seeing a red minivan driving aggressively on Route 17/Interstate 86 and Interstate 87, including tailgating, flashing headlights, honking the horn, and straddling two lanes.

At 11:37 AM, Schuler called Warren Hance, her brother and the father of the three nieces in Schuler’s car. She told him that they were being delayed by traffic.

According to a police report, Schuler was seen at approximately 11:45 AM by the side of the road with her hands on her knees, as if vomiting; she was seen again in the same position a short time later, north of the Ramapo rest stop.

At about 1 PM, another call was made to Hance from Schuler’s cell phone. During this call, one of Schuler’s nieces reportedly told her father that Schuler was having trouble seeing and speaking clearly. Schuler then talked to Hance herself and said that she was disoriented and couldn’t see clearly.

Police believe that the car was stopped in a pull-off area beyond the Tappan Zee Bridge tollbooths for at least part of this call. Hance reportedly told Schuler to stay off the road while he came to meet them; follow-up calls from Hance to Schuler were not answered.

A motorist later found Schuler’s cell phone by the side of the road near the toll lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

At 1:33 PM, two drivers called 911 after noticing Schuler’s van edging onto the northbound exit ramp of the Taconic State Parkway near Briarcliff Manor, New York. The end of the exit ramp is marked with two signs that read Do Not Enter and two signs that read One Way.

The exit ramp itself is unmarked. Within the next minute, four more 911 calls were placed by motorists who reported that a car was traveling the wrong way down the parkway.

Schuler’s van traveled south for 1.7 miles in the parkway’s northbound passing lane before colliding head-on, at approximately 1:35 PM, with a 2004 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, which then struck a 2002 Chevrolet Tracker.

Witnesses flew into action to pull Schuler and the kids from the burning van, which had rolled over as it went down an embankment onto a grassy median.

Schuler, her daughter, and three of her nieces were killed in the crash, along with the three men in the TrailBlazer. The two occupants of the Tracker suffered only minor injuries.

Schuler’s remaining niece and her 5-year-old son Bryan were taken to area hospitals, where her niece died later that day. Bryan survived suffering from broken bones and severe head trauma.

After the Accident:

A toxicology report released on August 4 by Westchester County medical examiners found that Schuler had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19, with approximately six grams of alcohol in her stomach that had not yet been absorbed into her blood.

The report also said that she had high levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in her system and had smoked marijuana as recently as 15 minutes prior to the collision.

Westchester Medical Examiner

Diane Schuler’s husband and his attorney Dominic Barbara consistently denied that she ever drank to excess or could have been drunk while driving that day.

Daniel Schuler eventually admitted that he and his wife had been drinking during the weekend, but he denied that Diane had anything to drink the morning of the crash.

The campground co-owner, who claimed to know the Schulers well and saw them off at approximately 9 AM that morning, said that Schuler appeared sober when she left.

The gas station employee whom Schuler asked for Tylenol around 11 AM also said, “[I knew] for a fact [that] she wasn’t drunk when she came into the station.”

According to Tom Ruskin, an investigator hired by Daniel Schuler, no McDonald’s employees saw any signs of intoxication in Diane Schuler, although she engaged in extended conversation there while ordering food.

Ruskin told reporters in September that he had interviewed over fifty people who knew Diane, none of whom had ever seen her in a drunken state.

Daniel Schuler told investigators that his wife smoked marijuana occasionally and the family told PEOPLE magazine that she used it to relieve insomnia. Although Daniel Schuler is an officer in the Public Security Unit of the Nassau County Police Department, he was not required to report his wife’s drug use because he is a civilian.

In November, it was reported that Diane Schuler’s sister-in-law had made a statement to police that Diane Schuler smoked marijuana on a regular basis.

Daniel Schuler and Barbara publicly attributed Diane Schuler’s erratic driving to a medical issue, such as a stroke.

According to Barbara, Diane Schuler suffered from diabetes — though additional sources cite Schuler as having had gestational diabetes a temporary condition related to a prior pregnancy rather than a chronic condition.

Barbara has also mentioned an abscess that had persisted in her mouth for seven weeks before her death and a lump in her leg, about which he said could have been a pulmonary embolism.

The results of an autopsy conducted by a Westchester County medical examiner one day after the accident found that Schuler had not suffered a stroke, aneurysm, or heart attack.

Daniel Schuler intended to re-test the fluid samples taken during the autopsy. The Westchester County medical examiner’s office, which performed the autopsy, said that the degradation of the fluids over time was likely to result in lowered alcohol and THC readings; however, several toxicology experts said that the results should be similar to the previous test if the fluid samples had been properly stored.

In June 2010, the New York State Police issued its final report on the accident following eleven months of analysis. The report upheld the previous toxicology findings that Schuler was highly intoxicated and had high levels of THC in her system at the time of the accident

On November 7, Ruskin announced that the Schuler family had raised the money to retest Schuler’s tissue samples and that the retesting would take place soon.

There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane (HBO Doc)

The documentary suggests that Schuler could have been suffering from severe pain caused by a tooth abscess during the drive home. This would explain why she was looking for pain medication at a gas station. When she was unable to find any, she self medicated with drugs and alcohol.

The pain of the abscess, combined with vodka and marijuana, could have put her in a temporary state of delirium  that triggered her fatal behavior.

In the documentary, Daniel and Barbara claim they gave Ruskin $30,000 to conduct an independent investigation and to re-test samples. Throughout the documentary, Daniel and Jay Schuler, Diane’s sister-in-law, claim that Ruskin was not returning their phone calls for nine months.

At the end of the documentary, Ruskin states that he had called her months ago with the results and that she refused to pick up her phone. She is seen claiming that “she was told not to pick up” and “that she didn’t understand any of it.”

Ruskin then informs her that his tests corroborated the previous tests; that Schuler was highly intoxicated from alcohol and marijuana.

Schuler’s family persisted in refusing to accept the test results

Autopsy Report

Police Report

39 thoughts on “Tragedy on the Taconic: Diane Schuler

  1. There is a condition called Auto Brewery Syndrome that is rare, but real. The patient’s body produces an unusually high amount of yeast in the gut. Combined with an intake of carbohydrates, large amounts of alcohol are actually brewed in the stomach. The person can become very drunk very suddenly without any consumption of alcohol. Has anyone ever considered that may have happened to Diane Schuler. In addition, maybe the marijuana in her system was from the night before to help her sleep. It seems odd that she would become so severely impaired in such a short timeline of events, especially because no one could say she appeared drunk. In addition, Auto Brewery Syndrome can cause severe bouts of vomiting, and she was seen on the side of the road in that condition. It seems to me, if she were a closet alcoholic, she wouldn’t be vomiting because she would be use to being drunk. A blood alcohol test in ABS would have the exact same results as someone drinking large amounts of alcohol.

    • Drivers and eyewitnesses report Diane as being alert and focused as they swerved out of her way. I think she decided that day to carry out an action she’d been contemplating for a while. She smoked weed everyday which could possibly be because of depression. Many depressed people turn to substances to cope. Maybe she woke up that morning in a depressed state and when the weed didn’t help alleviate (or maybe she didn’t smoke at all) she turned to alcohol which only intensified her depressive state until she did what she did. While I don’t necessarily understand the circumstances surrounding the driving arrangement when leaving the park, it serves as a reminder that maybe two adults should be present when there are more than two kids in a car. Ofcourse I understand that her actions leading up to this tragedy didn’t alert or worry anyone, it still seems a bit overwhelming to have her driving 5 kids (3 of which were not hers) alone with no adult support. I also understand that there are plenty of people who have more than 5 kids and travel/drive just fine, just thought Id mention that.

    • I just watched the HBO documentary “Somethings Wrong With Aunt Diane” and this was first thought as well! I’m currently studying medicine and thought this whole case was strange and misleading.

      The documentary goes into detail about her long history of dental issues, including an infected tooth (or possibly a few infected teeth). One theory I had was that perhaps an infection within her oral cavity, left untreated for so long, could have resulted in bacteria (or even fungus [yeast???]) entering the blood vessels that supply the brain and causing a brain abscess. Many brain abscesses begin from an infection to tissues near the brain, including an abscessed tooth.

      Brain abscesses are serious and can be treated if found early and if they occur more superficially in the brain. Deep infections can occur if left undiagnosed and can result in symptoms characteristic to which Diane experienced (such as frequent headaches). Symptoms normally develop slowly but they can also come on very suddenly. They symptoms include decreased mental processes (confusion, decreased responsiveness), difficultly speaking and movement (loss of muscle function), vision problems, and vomiting to name a few. These seem consistent with reports of Diane’s behavior that day.

      Another life-threatening consequence caused by untreated infections within the body could be meningitis. The symptoms are very similar. Meningitis and brain abscesses can both result from bacterial and fungal infections.

      Ok so seems pretty solid until you remember, oh yea, that ridiculously high blood alcohol content and THC. Thats when I tried to tie together the Auto-Brewery Syndrome and a blood infection. If Diane really hadn’t had anything to drink (which I don’t think she did; why would she drive with kids; why would she continue to drive; have you ever had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19%? You are definitely aware that you’re drunk and trying to operate a vehicle would be really challenging… so, how did she manage to drive so well she didn’t crash into anyone or anything before she went the wrong way on that road?).

      Lets continue with the theory where she really did not consume any alcohol. Considering that she also consumed McDonalds (high carb and sugar) the Auto-Brewery Syndrome seems like the likely candidate to cause intoxication without any alcohol.

      Cool, but Auto-Brewery Syndrome alone doesn’t feel like the only thing at play here. If you read George Perry’s comment about this unusual syndrome or if you research it yourself (or if you know how alcohol is made) then you can determine that there must be yeast present. Well, what’s yeast? Don’t worry, I’m not going into the detail about mycology on here, but the easy answer is that yeast is a fungus.

      Now you may be putting it together. If Diane had a long history of oral hygiene issues then it’s likely possible that her gut was generating too much microbial fungi (gut fungi) causing infections in her oral cavity. This would also contribute to the Auto-Brew theory.

      However, on a branch of this theory, I remembered that if she did seek treatment for an abscessed tooth her dentist would have likely prescribed some antibiotics, same Penicillin. Which could introduce fungi as well BUT there are a few notable examples of penicillin resistant bacteria. This is where I thought about a few common organisms found within the nose, throat and mouth, called Actinomyces and a fungi called Aspergillus. Actinomycese is a rare but aggressive invasive bacteria that causes a disease called Actinomycosis. This bacteria have been linked to abscess, both orally and in the brain. Aspergillus is an invasive fungi found pretty much everywhere. In humans it can be found in almost any organ or system in our bodies. Aspergillus, although uncommon, has caused meningitis and brain abscesses.

      Can you guess where Actinomycetes and Aspergillus have been found?
      In marijuana.

      OK! it’s a theory and could be worth investigating if any of these things contributed to the her behavior that day. It’s also worth noting that if this were true then Diane Schuler is one rare unlucky woman.

      • I also just watched this documentary. It popped up on HBO and now I wish I hadn’t seen it because it was so haunting.
        A couple of comments on theories…. first of all, the autopsy report states they checked several areas in her brain and found nothing out of the orinary. If she had had some type of brain issues, like a stroke, or something else, wouldn’t it have shown up under examination in the autopsy? I also read they found 6 g of alcohol just sitting in her stomach and lots in her blood, urine and brain. That doesn’t sound like some kind of situation where the stomach is manufacturing the alcohol.
        Also, there was a bottle of Absolut Vodka found in the wreckage. She was drinking vodka. It was in the car.

        I also wondered about the weed she was using. Where did she get it, and from whom? Marijuana can be tainted with all kinds of things. Remember the “bath salts” driving party-goers insane a few years ago? Maybe her marijuana was tainted with something that did something weird to her brain.

        Whatever did happen to her, she was drunk and she was high. It’s hard to explain how she remained able to drive in that condition, other than maybe it wasn’t affecting her motor skills all that much because she was so obese. A skinnier person might have been passed out with that much alcohol in her system.

    • Do you know if anyone has contacted Diane’s family to relay this information to them? I was about to post the same comment about this condition as well. Someone needs to pass along this info to the family because it’s very likely Diane had this – more so than a good mother drinking 10 cups of alcohol before driving with children in the car!

    • Though this seems viable, the results show that she smoked anywhere from 30-60 minutes before the crash. There were also sighs of chronic smoking. They also found a bottle of vodka at the crash which matched the conclusion that she drank1.7 liters of vodka.

  2. WOW!!! I hope her family reads this comment from Georgia Perry. Sounds like an answered prayer!

  3. I feel like her vomiting and erratic behavior was caused by DT’s. She then drank her emergency vodka to stop them. She was probably trying not to drink with the kids

    • I completely agree about the DT’s. My ex husband died in June at the age of 43 from alcoholism (internal bleeding due to chronic ethanol abuse.) He was a secret drinker and reminds me a lot of Diane, just from what I’ve read from the article. I feel there is a level of alcoholism that most people don’t experience. I knew something was wrong with my ex – I had him tested for celiac disease, I had him get an endoscopy, a colonoscopy. I thought it might be early-onset Parkinson’s or severe anxiety or, yes, that auto-brewers thing. No matter how many times I brought up his weird symptoms, he never cracked and revealed the cause. I just discovered this article and am feeling some sad relief that I’m not the only one who failed to recognize an addict was right under their nose. I was married twelve years and I swear on my life I never for a second thought his drinking was anywhere near as bad as it was.

      My exes issue was revealed when he a) got caught drinking at work and, on the same day, b) when I forced him to go to therapy to discuss what I thought was severe anxiety/depression and he revealed the problem to his therapist. We left for detox the next day – his first stay was in May 2018 and when I dragged him there, his BAC was .476 and he had to go to the ER for two days first. I left him in September 2018 and he lived with relatives or in hotels from December 2018 until his death. He was in a hotel for two days before his body was discovered and the fluid they check was .463 for alcohol.

      My exes extreme alcoholism didn’t happen overnight. He was drinking behind my back for years and years, I’m convinced of it. Many, many people overlooked it. He drove our infant children 20 miles home from daycare every day. No one ever suggested he smelled like alcohol or acted intoxicated. I would have never left him alone with my children if I suspected he was intoxicated.

      • I’m sorry that happened. This is neither here nor there, but two things:
        1. My husband had an abscessed tooth that ended in a brain infection, and it was nothing like this.
        2. Diane’s dental records showed that she was prescribed Vicodin at least twice from what was shown on the documentary. Maybe she developed a dependence and started drinking heavily when she couldn’t get more?

  4. Interesting theories, but the one thing that stands out to me is that she seemed DETERMINED to keep driving. She pulled over twice and vomited, did not stay put like her brother wanted her to, and even set her phone down at one point. That is a woman who doesn’t give a $HIT about life anymore and wants to end it, and doesn’t care who else goes down with her. I’m not buying any other ‘excuse.’
    I think she ‘snapped’ that morning and chugged that vodka and weed not because of “pain”, but because she emotionally snapped over something. Maybe she and Danny had a fight before she left? And if she was in that much pain, why the hell would she keep driving? Why wouldn’t she call Danny?
    Also, one thing I noticed was Danny said they had breakfast at the campground. Why then would she stop for breakfast at McDonald’s shortly after leaving?
    Witnesses even stated that she was focused – eyes dead ahead, speeding down that highway going the wrong way but staying in her lane. She was not zigzagging – OBVIOUSLY SHE COULD SEE! She MURDERED those people!!!!

    • Actually witnesses said she was switching lanes sporadically. I don’t know what to think. She could have snapped

    • Sadly her in-laws, who lost their three beautiful daughters, refused to speak afterwards. I think they know about her personal life, and blame her for doing this on purpose. The way she drove — no swerving, eyes on the road, ignoring all attempts to alert her — suggest you are correct sunkissed.

    • I completely agree. Even if she had all the medical conditions people are speculating she had, which ultimately caused the high BAC level etc. Why in the world would she keep driving being that sick with FIVE kids in the car? Because she was ready to die and didn’t care who she took with her. I know it’s difficult for people to believe that a mother would do something so reprehensible. Thus they look for reasons to excuse the behavior, but the bottom line is she drove while being severely inhibited by alcohol, which resulted in the death of herself and 7 other people.

    • While certainly a possibility, it does not explain a very simple question: why would someone about to kill themselves be looking for Tylenol? Don’t want to go out with a headache? I don’t see the fit. Aside, there’s no evidence to suggest mental health issues. Not out of the question, of course, but feels like a leap of logic.

  5. I agree about with Georgia Perry’s comments. I was about to suggest the same thing. Back in 2009 they didn’t t know as much About gut health. It could of been overlooked. The fact that witnesses all say she was totally sober etc. and yet she had orange juice. That would of set off her gut to produce high amounts of sugar Thus causing her yeast to overtake showing up instead as alcohol in the system. Sometimes I can have only two sips of something and I feel dizzy already. It all depends how Much sugar I’ve had in my system. She very well could of suffered from this Syndrome and not known it. Others who have it their blood levels show super high amounts of alcohol when in fact they haven’t drank anything.

  6. These are all well thought out theories and I appreciated reading them as potential reasoning as to how this could have happened. However, the only definite in all this is that 8 people lost their lives and that is extremely sad. May they all Rest In Peace.

  7. Her infection, alcoholism and drug addiction, caused her accident. Sorry people, but there is no getting around that. Her family is in denial. She was an alcoholic and a drug addict… and I am sure her family know it.

    • Josie, The only thing I have a hard time with is her being an alcoholic. If she were, she’d be relatively unaffected by the vodka she drank. I don’t think we’ll ever know, but I’d like to hear the viewpoint of her inlaws.

  8. I know the family probably won’t read this but I have had 2 accidents that, thank God, nobody was hurt and it was from my oxygen level being so low. I don’t remember any of it and don’t even remember getting into the car. They realized in the hospital that I stop breathing in my sleep so after a period of time my oxygen keeps dropping. The last time it was only 84%. For some reason, both times, I called my son and he talked me into pulling over. I don’t remember ANYTHING though. They say that I talk like I’m drunk and that’s what anyone would think if they were around me. I hope they can get some kind of answers for this family.

  9. According to the autopsy report that you can read for yourself through the link on this page, Diane did NOT suffer from alcoholism or addiction of any kind. There were “no masses, fibrosis, hemorrhages, legions, no fatty changes, inflammation, necrosis or tumor”; Liver unremarkable, kidneys normal, pancreas unremarkable. This is 100% undeniable proof there was no alcoholism or addiction issue.
    Stomach contents indicate 180 mLs of “gray fluid”. It specifically does NOT state alcohol. It seems to contradict the tox report. There is no indication that this was even tested to determine what the fluid was, and this should have been done, it is standard.
    There have been many autopsies were blood and urine alcohol levels are contaminated. When there are many broken bones and lacerations, and in this case even burns, blood and urine and even visceral fluid can be contaminated if there are tears, and lacerations which Diane has many of.
    Case example: on first autopsy a 49 yr old male came back with a .26 blood alcohol. He was ruled to be drunk. Upon further inspection in to his medical history he was taking a medication for an infection that would have made him violently ill if he had drank more than 16 oz of beer, or more that a single shot. After discovering this and looking at the tissue samples, all the tissue samples were clean, just like with Diane’s case.
    A second autopsy was done and it was determined that the stomach contents had leaked out contaminating the source the blood and urine was collected from due to a tear and several lacerations from the accident. The man was not actually drunk at all. It was determined that a single beer he had, that the bartender testified the man did not even finish, was in his stomach and leaked out causing a false .26 It was further determined he did not even cause the accident, a speeding car ran him off the road and he lost control. That person was charged and convicted.
    Medical Examiners are not Gods, they overlook things, and they don’t do everything on every autopsy. If they go in with the mindset of “drunk driver”, usually from the police, they get myopic, just like the police.
    There are thousands of things that can and are overlooked in a normal autopsy; there are a million things out there that an ME can miss simply because they don’t know to look for it, especially if it’s something rare.
    There are types of strokes that can be missed if you are not looking for them. There are aneurysms, blood clots, cysts that could have been overlooked, and it does mention a lot of clots that are not specifically stated as post mortem. All of these things could be the cause of her behavior.
    Auto – Brewery is relatively rare, however is becoming increasingly more common, especially when factoring in gluten issues. This is not something that someone performing a basic autopsy would be looking for and could very well have been overlooked, especially when the stomach contents was not even analyzed.
    About the THC in the tox report – that reading indicates it could have been in her system up to 3 days prior. The Absolute vodka bottle – the photo shows a broken bottle, no one knows how much was even in that bottle and it was found in the back of the car, not near the driver.

    Her own son, the only survivor, stated many times “Mommy’s head hurt and she could not see.” This is not being drunk. There are ocular migraines that distort vision and disorientate to the point that she may not have known how fast she was going and she could very easily not been able to see.
    If every single person who knew her says she did not drink regularly or to excess, if every single person who knew her says she would not have done anything on purpose to harm her kids, if witnesses all through the timeline state she was not drunk, she did not smell of alcohol, and she did not appear under the influence, and even the times she is on video she is not impaired, logic dictates something else was wrong. It’s a complete cop out to say she was drunk and high. Being in pain and disoriented, and not being able to see, her need to get her kids home may have been the only focus thought she had, however, we will never ever know.
    Her behavior does not indicate suicide, the evidence in the autopsy report absolutely and unequivocally proves she was NOT an alcoholic and did NOT have any addiction issues, and quite frankly was not thorough enough. Read it yourself.
    One last thing, there are a thousand things that could happen to any one of us at any given moment that would give any one of us these very same symptoms and behaviors, and has happened to many; they have docuseries and many medical dramas (House, CSI franchises, Forensic Files,etc.) that explain some of them.
    Unfortunately this happened to one of us while she was driving.
    Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged.

    • This! So much this! Watching that hbo special really changed my perspective, as soon as I heard her sons words: “mommy’s head hurt & she could not see, that’s it! And then I flew out of the car like Superman”

      I feel horrible for everyone affected by this horrendous accident. But idk that we’ll ever know the truth surrounding it! Her husband was in a deep denial bcos he was desperate to protect her reputation. And he never got his son any kind of counseling. Which, in such a situation, I think is imperative! Maybe they could’ve found out more.

      But no one who came in contact w.her found her intoxicated. Her pain, her puking on the side of the road. I really think something else happened to her now.

      I really hope her family gets answers someday

    • I’ve seen people drunk enough they had a headache and blurred vision. You do not have to be an alcoholic to be drunk and stoned. The combination of drug and alcohol intoxication creates even more issues. If she had a reputation of never touching drugs and alcohol this would be a mystery but she did drink and it’s not a mystery.

  10. I haven’t read a lot of these post but I read an article that she was diabetic, if this is true then I truly believe she was having a diabetic episode. My husband is type one diabetic and I’ve witnessed myself multiple times him have episodes and they are always different. I’ve seen him with a blood level of 35 and be completely erratic and detained by officers and other times be completely fine and coherent with the same blood levels. If she did have diabetes then this is what it was and I know this for a fact. I’d like to talk to family members.

  11. This story floats around the internet as an unsolved mystery. Just because her family, who admitted she drinks and smokes marijuana, doesn’t want to believe she was driving under the influence does not make this a mystery. People do not think or act rationally when intoxicated so trying to rationalize her behavior leads to far fetched, unsubstantiated theories.

  12. There is a possibility that Diane was septic – which can cause delusions and hallucinations. I know because i witnessed the same in an aunt of mine. Diane had had recent dental surgery so perhaps she’d developed an infection following that surgery that went unchecked. Given potential chronic infection in the mouth area, the infection could possibly travel to the brain and could potentially result in effects similar to what Diane was experiencing on that dreadful day. I’ve shared this info via msg on the Hance Family Foundation’s FB page several months ago.

  13. Urgent: if anyone knows the family of Diane Schuler, they need to let them know there’s a very rare liver condition that can be triggered by an infection (Diane had a possible tooth infection!) where the body turns carbs into alcohol and creates very high blood alcohol levels regardless of whether or not the person had anything to drink. Diane appeared “normal” with a blank stare to other drivers which makes sense for this condition, too. They don’t even know what’s going on with themselves. The coroner probably never heard of the condition because it’s extremely rare. The family really needs to know about this because it’s more likely that Diane had this condition, called Auto Brewery Syndrome, than drinking 10 cups of alcohol before driving with children in the car. Please, please relay this information to the family if you know them. Thank you!

      • actually that is not true. There does not need to be food in the stomach it could be in her small or large intestines. From what i have seen about ABS ferments the carbohydrates in the small intestine

  14. After Diane Schuler calls her brother,slurring her speech, calling him her husbands name (Danny), even though intoxicated, she knows if she gets pulled over she’s going to jail for DUI, plus child endangerment. she’s going to jail for a long time, Her thinking at that point, under the influence she decides to get rid of her self and all the witnesses, ?

  15. the entire family is NUTS. Where was she and what was she doing between 1030a and 1130A? They lie and change their stories, depending on what they think people want to hear.

  16. Food for thought…….. I just noticed the following on the autopsy report, last page additional blood work. None of the results are flagged as being out of range but in fact some are (3 of them listed below) as follows:

    1. glu 4mg/dL

    glucose normal range in women is between 70 and 99 mg/dL. This would mean Low Sugar for which some causes include:
    There are many reasons why you may have low blood sugar, including:

    Taking too much insulin.
    ******Not eating enough carbs for how much insulin you take
    Timing of when you take your insulin.
    The amount and timing of physical activity.
    ****Drinking alcohol.******
    How much fat, protein, and fiber are in your meal.
    Hot and humid weather.

    Symptoms include:
    As your low blood sugar gets worse, you may experience more serious symptoms, including:

    Feeling weak.
    Having difficulty walking or seeing clearly.
    *****Acting strange or feeling confused.*******
    Having seizures.
    Severe low blood sugar is below 54 mg/dL

    2. Potassium K 17.2 mmol/L
    normal blood potassium level is 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)
    Value shows High potassium If your potassium level is above 6.5 mmol/L, it’s dangerously high and you need medical care right away.
    Symptoms include ******nausea and vomitting*******
    Cause include *****dehydration*******

    3. CI 125 mmol/L
    normal range is 96 to 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) or 96 to 106 millimoles per liter (millimol/L).

    A chloride blood test measures the amount of chloride in your blood. Chloride is a type of electrolyte. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that help control the amount of fluids and the balance of acids and bases (pH balance) in your body.

    High levels of chloride may be a sign of:****** Dehydration*******. Kidney disease. Metabolic acidosis, a condition in which you have too much acid in your blood.

    Signs of dehydration include:
    *******Headache, delirium, confusion.*********

    Alcohol is a diuretic. It causes your body to remove fluids from your blood through your renal system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, at a much quicker rate than other liquids. ******If you don’t drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly.********

    I am thinking that unfortunately Diane might have been drinking after they left while driving, probably did this before with no issues. However this time, since she had been drinking on and off during the weekend and maybe even other times leading up to that weekend, she probably did not eat well (substantial nutrient rich foods) and probably did not drink alot of water.

    Come Sunday she was probably experiencing low glucose, high potassium and high chloride in her blood which in combination and as time progressed and she consumed some more alcohol, the effects took on a stronger impact. She was probably dehydrated and her stomach was empty, so she probably did not eat much and the symptoms of vomiting, confusion, acting strange, difficulty seeing clearly, and headache (assumed since she stopped for some tylenol or advil or something along those lines) started to impact her.

    Something she might have done before multiple times (drinking) with no major side effects, this time was a perfect storm in combination with the health values seen in the additional blood work. This time, she felt all these symptoms and became even more out of control triggering the agitated and aggressive driving state some witnesses describe. This time it all hit her at once and well we know what happens then.

    I may be totally wrong here but I strongly believe multiple factors (in addition to the above) culminated into the perfect storm which left 8 people dead and many families heartbroken. if in fact she had been a hidden drinker there are factors also present which triggered her to start comfortably drinking in the first place. it is all a chain reaction.

    Such a sad story.

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