crimesider

Crash Mom's Husband: "I Would Marry Her Again Tomorrow"

(Family Photo)
Bryan, left, was the only crash survivor. Erin, right, was killed along with her mother, Diane, who was at the wheel.

NEW YORK(CBS) The husband of a woman who had high levels of alcohol and marijuana in her system when she smashed into an SUV killing eight, including her daughter, three nieces and herself, choked back tears during a Thursday press conference and said "She was a perfect wife, outstanding mother…I would marry her again tomorrow."

Daniel Schuler steadfastly refuted the idea that his wife, Diane Schuler, 36, was recklessly drunk and high when her minivan smashed into an oncoming SUV on the Taconic State Parkway, about 35 miles north of New York City July 26.

His lawyer, Dominic Barbara, theorized that she may have had a stroke which left her confused and somehow led to the alcohol in her system.

"The theory of her being so drunk that she was pouring alcohol down her throat and smoking a joint in the car is bizarre to everyone that knows her," Barbara said. "This is not a woman to jeopardize five children."

Daniel Schuler was at a loss to explain a broken 1.75 liter vodka bottle state police found in the debris of the burned-up vehicle days after the crash.

"I never saw her drunk from the day I met her," Daniel Schuler said.

Barbara said they were not directly refuting the medical examiner's findings that Diane Schuler had roughly ten shots worth of alcohol in her system when she crashed, only questioning how that situation occurred.

When asked about his children, Daniel Schuler fought to hold back tears, "I lost my daughter. I lost my wife. All I have is my son."

"I promised my wife I will take care of my son the way she would want me to and that's what I am going to do," he said.

Barbara said the family was not yet sure if they would exhume Diane Schuler's body to perform a second autopsy. He did say they were in contact with new witnesses who might shed further light on the tragic crash.

The accident claimed the lives of Daniel Schuler, her daughter, Erin, 2, Schuler's nieces Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Kate, 5, as well as three Yonkers men in the other car - Guy Bastardi, 49, Michael Bastardi, 81, Daniel Longo, 74.

The Schuler's' 5-year-old son survived the crash.

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