Diane Schuler, Wrong-Way Crash Mom: Got Sick Twice Before Collision Killed Eight, Says Report

(Family Photo)
Family Photo: Diane Schuler is seen with her husband Daniel Schuler and two children. Erin, 2, was killed in the crash, but Brian, 5, survived.

NEW YORK (CBS) Diane Schuler, the suburban New York mother who died in a wrong-way crash that killed three other adults and four children in July, was twice seen doubled over on the side of the road, "getting sick," witnesses told state police investigators in documents released to CBS affiliate WCBS.

State police investigators spent weeks digging, and documents from the case file on the crash contain much of what they uncovered. The documents were released to the families of the three Yonkers, N.Y. men who died when Diane Schuler smashed her minivan full of children head-on into their SUV.

"They want to know what happened that day," said forensic investigator Michael Archer.

Archer, who works for the family of victim Daniel Longo, said the documents confirm much of what Schuler's husband Daniel refuses to discuss: his wife Diane was a pothead.

Police told WCBS that this information supports a new theory of the fateful night — that Schuler, who smoked marijuana regularly according to her sister-in-law, but did not drink often, was overcome by the 10 shots of vodka she is believed to have consumed during her deadly drive.

Authorities believe Schuler was not an alcoholic, according to the station.

Documents released Friday show that Schuler pulled over twice prior to the crash, where she was seen "bent over as if she was sick" at 11:45 a.m., and again 30 minutes later, outside the van, "like she's getting sick," WCBS reports.

A medical examiner found Diane Schuler's blood-alcohol level was 0.19, more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. The autopsy also revealed that Schuler was impaired by marijuana, DiFiore said.

The fiery July 26 crash on the Taconic Parkway killed Schuler, her 2-year-old daughter, three young nieces and three men in the SUV. The woman's 5-year-old son survived. The occupants of a third vehicle sustained minor injuries.

What caused Schuler to go on a major vodka binge with five children in the car, including her own son and daughter?

Forensic investigator Michael Archer told WCBS, "We'll never know why she did this. But there is a reason and we'll never know what that reason is."

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