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Report: Daniel Schuler Sues State, Brother-In-Law, 2 Years After Taconic Crash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler, driving her family home to Long Island after a weekend camping trip, went the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway and crashed into an SUV.

Eight people died in the crash, including Schuler herself, her daughter, three nieces, and three men in another car.

No one was ever charged for the accident, and the Westchester County district attorney maintained that Schuler was the only person that could've been charged.

However, according to published reports, husband Daniel Schuler filed suit Monday against the state and the father of three girls in the accident.

Schuler reportedly said that the highway's poor construction led to the accident, and that Warren Hance, father of victims Emma, Alyson and Katie, ages 8, 7 and 5, respectively, owned the vehicle that Diane Schuler drove.

Toxicology reports showed Schuler was driving with a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit and that she'd been smoking marijuana. The accident is said to be the worst in Westchester in over 75 years.

2009 Taconic crash
Wreckage from the wrong-way crash on the Taconic State Parkway (credit: Sonia Rincon/1010 WINS)

Roseanne Guzzo lost her father, Guy Bastardi; and her brother, Michael, and family friend Daniel Longo on that horrible day. She responded Tuesday to the news Daniel Schuler's lawsuit.

"I don't understand what it is about this man. He's gotta accept this. By suing the state of New York it's not going to change the facts," Guzzo told CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

Thomas Ruskin, a former NYPD detective, was hired by Daniel Schuler as a private investigator. They had a falling out because Daniel Schuler does not want to believe, Ruskin said, his wife was at fault. Ruskin said he tried to talk Schuler out of filing lawsuits.

"I can't tell you. I don't understand how someone can file this type of lawsuit against the people of the state of New York and his brother-in-law," Ruskin said when asked what sense filing a lawsuit makes.

Though there was movement inside Schuler's house on Tuesday, no one came to the door when Guzman knocked. In his Long Island neighborhood, though, while people did not want to comment on his lawsuit, they did remember the fatal crash.

"I can't possibly comprehend how a woman could have brought about such a terrible event," Tony Perez said.

"The fact of the matter is she was drunk and high at the time of the accident. She drove the wrong way 1.7 miles and she killed seven innocent people. And had she survived that accident: she'd be in jail today," Ruskin said.

Guzman also contacted the lawyer for Schuler's brother-in-law. They, too, would not comment.

LISTEN: WCBS 880's Catherine Cioffi reports


"On the drive back home, Emma, our oldest, called us from the car and said 'something is wrong with Aunt Diane'," Jackie Hance, who lost her daughters in the crash, recalled in an interview with Ladies Home Journal this month. "I heard the other children crying in the background and then the phone cut out."

"When something terrible happens, your brain simply can't process it -- or at least mine couldn't.  For the first month I was so dazed with grief that I'd wander out of my room and out of the house at all hours. I don't know what I was doing. Searching for the girls?" Hance said.

Hance said the extended family remains split.

Schuler Family
The Schuler Family (credit: Handout)

"People always ask how I feel about Diane. How does a person go from being like a sister to me -- adored by my girls and cherished by my husband -- to being the one who ruined our lives? To not have any answers is torture," Hance said.

She stopped going to church, though her faith has been restored in the kindness of strangers inspiring the Hances to set up a foundation in memory of their daughters.

"Parenting is not something you can ever let go of, even if your children are gone. Warren and I still celebrate the girls' birthdays, just as we always did," Hance said.

1010 WINS' Al Jones reports: Still Looking For Answers And Justice


Two years after the crash, Michael Bastardi Jr., is still looking for answers and justice -- and didn't expect to find either in "There's Something Wrong With Aunt Diane" -- an HBO documentary which aired Monday night.

Bastardi said Schuler's family continues to make excuses for her behavior. He called the timing of the documentary in "poor taste."

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