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There's Something's Wrong With Aunt Diane Documentary

Aired April 14, 2013 - 19:00   ET


SGT. TEMPLE, STATE POLICE: State Police, Sergeant Temple.

BRAD: My name is Brad Kalifna (ph). I'm actually trying to help a friend right now and I need some information. There's -- children are on their way home from a camping trip with their aunt. They just called my friend's house in distress, saying that the aunt is driving erratically. The aunt isn't picking up the cell phone right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The woman is driving the car, they think is having a medical emergency because she called and then she couldn't talk anymore and has got five kids in the car. The father and the husband are -- or the father and the brother are here at the station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sleepy Hollow Police, 9-1-1 emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's an accident, Route 117. Route 117. What is this? Pleasantville Road?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's nine? Ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep going. Wait a second. I'm from -- I'm not from around here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Route 17 at Taconic? OK, OK. Are there any injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really don't know. Hold on. Let me check it out. Hold on.

Hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honestly -- hold on. I really don't know.

Yes, there are. There's, like, little kids. There -- the kid's not moving. There's -- yes, there's a whole bunch of kids. Honestly, the car's smashed.



DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE'S HUSBAND: She was a perfect wife, outstanding mother, hard worker, reliable person, trustworthy. I'd marry again tomorrow. But she's awesome. She's the best.


JAY SCHULER, DIANE'S SISTER-IN-LAW: And she drives away. I watched this, like, numerous times, over and over again. And she was fine. And that's what's frustrating.

I'm very big into mystery shows. I live for watching those. And even before this, that's all I would watch. And it's just ironic to me that I feel like I'm on one of them. I feel like I'm walking around and there's going to be, like, this story is going to come out. I feel like someone is going to say 10 years later it proves what happened. There's so much more to the story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a horrific scene on Taconic Parkway near Route 117 this afternoon. This burned-out shell was all that remained of a minivan after the head-on crash which left eight people dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diane Schuler, her daughter and three nieces. Three Westchester men in the SUV were killed.

CAPT. MICHAEL REALMUTO, NY STATE POLICE: Evidence leads us to believe that a vehicle was traveling the wrong way southbound in the northbound lanes of traffic.

CHIEF JOE LA GRIPPO, HAWTHORNE FIRE DEPARTMENT: Several people were ejected, most of them children. And we prioritized and we were able to save one young child's life.

ROB MALCOLM, VALHALLA, N.Y.: More than one family was destroyed tonight after a horrible crash on the Taconic Parkway. The lone survivor, a 5-year-old boy, clinging to life here tonight at the Westchester Medical Center.

D. SCHULER: When I first got the phone call, I didn't know what happened. I just went up there to the hospital and then I found out there was a car accident.

JIMMY SCHULER, DANIEL'S BROTHER: And he got the phone call and he got all upset on there and then he handed me the phone. And at that point, it was, "Bryan died," and everybody else was alive.

JAY SCHULER: Then I went to Pa's house and I told them that Bryan was dead. And then I got the phone call that it wasn't, that Bryan survived. And then Jimmy said, "It's bad, it's bad, Jay. Everyone's gone."

D. SCHULER: I don't remember much of that day. You know? Just taking care of Bryan. That's what I remember.


WARREN HANCE, DIANE'S BROTHER: My sister was a phenomenal mother, aunt and friend. And all of us are grateful for the love and care that she showered upon our entire family, especially all of our children. What we ask for all of you going forward is that you keep my girls, my sister and my niece and all of us in your daily prayers. There's a miracle child in all of this, our dear nephew, Bryan, who's getting better and stronger by the day, and he'll be loved by more people than he will ever understand.

Love your children. Cherish your children. Kiss your children. And don't ever forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An autopsy was performed by the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office on the body of Diane Schuler, the operator of the 2003 Ford van, who was responsible for this crash. The toxicology from that autopsy shows that Diane Schuler had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent.

The legal limit for intoxication in New York state is 0.08 percent. Toxicology also reveals that Diane Schuler had a high level of THC. THC is the active ingredient contained in marijuana.

QUESTION: In drinks, how much had she consumed?

BETSY SPRATT, DIRECTOR OF TOXICOLOGY, WESTCHESTER COUNTY: The weight is what's very important in calculating the number of drinks. And with that level of alcohol, it's approximately 10 drinks are still in her at this time.

DOMINIC BARBARA, SCHULER ATTORNEY: All right. We want to speak to you about the events that occurred -- and I'll tell you quite candidly that I didn't see any real benefit, except my client wants to talk about his wife. She was not an alcoholic. She rarely had a drink. She got in the van with the children and what should have taken a 35- minute drive took almost 4 hours.

D. SCHULER: Listen to this. I go to bed every night knowing my heart is clear. She did not drink. She was not an alcoholic. Listen to all that. She is not an alcoholic, and my heart is rested every night when I go to bed. Something medically had to have happened.

JAY SCHULER: My name is Jay Schuler.

QUESTION: You're married to...?

JAY SCHULER: I'm married to Danny's brother, Jimmy Schuler. Diane was my sister-in-law. Family was the most important thing to her, to have the cousins all playing together. There is no way she would ever jeopardize the children.

Stop the barking.

Just go down a second. Look at the things they wrote about her.

"Loser, skank, killer."

Isn't that nice?

"Oh, shut the F up and admit that him and his wife were alkies and potheads."

"People You'll See in Hell," that's what Bryan is going to see, that his mother was a murderer. And people want to know why I keep on fighting.

And you go from the perfect tragedy to now people hating you, hating you, people, what they're saying on the computer, people what they're saying on the news. You know, and I'm like, you don't know us. That's not what happened. And any sympathy turned to hate.

I need Bryan to hold his head up high that his mommy was a great mom. She wasn't drunk. She would never do that to them never, never ever. She would never hurt her kids or Warren and Jackie's. Something happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll do every test that experts recommend to us, and, you know, we'll go to avenues here that can be explored.

But what if it doesn't turn up something you want? What will --

JAY SCHULER: I know. I think about that sometimes, but it's going to work out.

And if it doesn't -- I don't even go down that path, because I know she wouldn't let me fight this for nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Barbara Law Firm, good afternoon.

BARBARA: You know why they came to me originally? To go public. That was from day one. They didn't just pick my name out of a hat. They wanted to go public, and I still think it was the right thing to do. It would have never gotten to where it is today. You wouldn't be involved if it wasn't something public, right?


BARBARA: This has been a very painful, emotionally painful experience, this case, because I've taken a lot of grief. I've taken more grief on this case than some of the really -- Buttafuoco and Jessica Hahn, cases of the '70s and '80s, and my friendship with certain celebrities. This took more heat.

People actually come over to me, "How could you represent that drunk?" And that really bothers me, because I truly believed in my heart of hearts that she's not an alcoholic nor a drunk. Do I have an answer for that day? No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the thing that you want to happen most?

D. SCHULER: I want to know what happened to my wife. I want an autopsy done, a correct autopsy done. And I want to know if she had a stroke or not, because what they're saying is not true, or I wouldn't be doing this.

I'm a quiet person and a private person, but I just want to find out what happened so when my son gets older, he knows what happened to his mom. I'm going to go until the end, until I find out what really happened, the truth, whether it's good or bad. That'll be fine with me. But I know something medically happened to my wife.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Diane talk to you about her mother? Her feelings?

D. SCHULER: Not much. It wasn't a subject that we talk about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would she say about her?

D. SCHULER: That she left when Diane was young. She didn't like bringing it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it something that she just kind of didn't deal with?

D. SCHULER: It seemed like it bothered her. But she wouldn't talk about it. And I never push, pushed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the girl of the house, and everyone said that Diane did everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever meet her mother?

JAY SCHULER: No. Someone said she was at the funeral, at the wake, but I never met her. I have -- only things I knew that she didn't have contact with her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you -- why did -- do you know why she left the father?

JAY SCHULER: The -- I don't know why she left the dad, no. I really don't.

Diane wasn't like that. Like she didn't go, like, pity me, feel sorry for me. But I would imagine that had a big impact on her, that she was going to be totally there for her kids and never leave them, and that's why we find it so ironic.

QUESTION: Can you give a more detailed description of what happened before she went out on the trip home, what you had to eat together, what conversation?


QUESTION: Right from the moment you woke up.

D. SCHULER: I woke up at 6 o'clock; I went down to my boat to clean it out and do what I got to do, came back about quarter till 7:00. Seven o'clock, I woke her up, saying we got to start cleaning the camper so we can start getting home before traffic.

She woke up, started packing the bags slowly, started waking the kids up slowly, started getting the kids dressed. We unloaded the camper, all the bags outside the camper. And I walk them to the car and we load them up. We had a cup of coffee, two cups of coffee and then we left.

QUESTION: Do you remember your last words?

D. SCHULER: Yes, I kissed everyone goodbye and my wife.




D. SCHULER: It was a great weekend -- swimming, hiking, campfire, cooking marshmallows, the game room with the kids, the playground. It was an excellent weekend.

Well, that morning when we got up, we had breakfast, we made coffee, we cleaned up the camper, said goodbye to all the kids. She hopped in her car, I hopped in mine. We went on our way.

JAMES BOYLE, INVESTIGATOR, NY STATE POLICE: We received a phone call at 9:00 am from Emma (sic) Hance's oldest daughter, who said everything was good, they had a great time, they were looking forward to coming home.

ANN SCOTT, OWNER, HUNTER LAKE CAMPGROUND: Danny was parked up in front and he had the dog and he had the truck. And she was right behind him in the van.

And the kids were just yelling. They were all strapped in their seats and yelling what a good time they had, because they were up visiting with Aunt, you know, Diane, and so forth.

So I kind of leaned and I said, "Oh, I hear you yelling." I said, "You have a good time?"

And they go, "Yes, we're coming back." You know, they were so excited about coming back.

And that was about the last thing they said. I said to Diane, "Have a safe trip home." She certainly seemed sober to me.


D. SCHULER: Then we left the campground, we left together. I followed her out. Then I got on the parkway and I went home with my dog and the laundry, and she stopped off at the stores to get gas, to get the kids breakfast. And I just went home.


JOSEPH BECERRA, INVESTIGATOR, NY STATE POLICE: The morning they left, that Sunday, he stated that they left approximately the same time. Diane left with all the kids in the minivan, and he left with the dog. And he stated that Diane was stopping at a McDonald's not far from the campground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Hance family agreed that it was preplanned that he would take the pickup truck with the dog -- obviously can't put the kids in the back of the pickup truck -- and they borrowed the minivan from the aunt's as for the very purpose of transporting all the children.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators from the Liberty station were able to obtain a video from the McDonald's, which was timestamped. It showed Diane Schuler enter McDonald's with the children.

We additionally interviewed the McDonald's employee who served her. He said that he did remember her and did not remember her being intoxicated or smelling of alcohol.

The children were playing in the playground. They seemed to be having a good time. Through this video, we saw no obvious signs of intoxication.


MICHAEL ARCHER, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST: There's the Sunoco video where you see her at the pump, getting out of the car. And then she goes in at the gas station. Then she goes in and apparently asks for some sort of pain meds, which they don't have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She walked in, spoke to the clerk -- we don't know what was said; there's no audio -- and walked out with nothing. Again, there was no obvious signs of intoxication at this time.



Oh, no, it didn't. I (inaudible). What is it again I can learn? You know, (inaudible). (Inaudible).



JAY SCHULER: What's in that one, Bry?

BRYAN SCHULER: Face. (Inaudible).



BRYAN SCHULER: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look down more.

D. SCHULER: A human face.

BRYAN SCHULER: (Inaudible) --

JAY SCHULER: (Inaudible) a human face is --

BRYAN SCHULER: Eye, mouth.

D. SCHULER: I see it.

BRYAN SCHULER: Can you find the deer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you find the deer?

BRYAN SCHULER: A buffalo, possum, ape, ox, horse, dog.

JAY SCHULER: What does this do for your eyes, Bry? Makes them strong, right?

JAY SCHULER: This is the picture that they took at the campsite on Saturday. It's really hard to look at, but you can see how much fun they're having, because Bryan, being like, as shy as he is, Erin with her ball, and Emma, Ali and Kate. And that would be typical of Diane, like, all right, everyone on a rock, pose.

Diane, like, when she asked me to be a godmother to Erin, I like, I'm like, oh, my God, she really does like me, you know, I was like so thrilled.

I mean, Warren and Jackie, I think their grief is just so bad.

To Jackie, the kids were her job. That's what she did. Listening to her schedule of soccer, dance, this, that, times three, running all around to (inaudible) to nothing.

I can't imagine anyone in her family thinks Diane was drunk. As a parent, like, you have the tiny bit of doubt, if human, I would have a tiny bit of doubt, human. But when Jackie reflects back, I don't want to speak for them, but her and Diane were, like best friends. But are they choosing to speak out about it? No.


ROSEANN GUZZO, GUY BASTARDI'S SISTER: This is today. He's coming up to my house. And this is 7:15 in the morning. He goes, "We're all going to Yorktown Heights today, my sister's house. What surprise will it be for dinner? Laugh out loud."

That's the day he died.

That morning I remember, I remember my brother's voice on that phone, saying to me, you guys -- said, "OK, we're going to just have spaghetti and meatballs."

I had the table set and I remember him saying, "OK, it's all right, you know, I'll be there."

It's sort of there's no closure at that point, because you don't get to say goodbye. You know?

I mean, like, I know that he knows we all loved him. You know, we loved my brother. We loved him. And they know that.

MARGARET NICOTINA, GUY BASTARDI'S SISTER: But we didn't get to tell them. You know, we didn't get to have that closure with them, and that bothers me. And then it also, like I said, it bothered me because they never made it home. They should have made it home that day. And they didn't.

JOSEPH LONGO, DANIEL LONGO'S BROTHER: It was a shock. It was really a shock. I mean, just when the phone call came in and from that day forward.

He was healthy. He was just -- he retired. I think he was really just out to enjoy himself. I feel his life was cut short. He was really -- I think he had a lot more life to live.

D. SCHULER: Bryan's my main priority right now.


Being a single parent is hard. Trying to do the right thing for him. Give him a normal life, as we possibly can. Definitely changed. I do security work. I work nights. So I'm up at 6:00, I'm in bed by 1:00.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does Bryan ask a lot about his mom?

D. SCHULER: We talk a lot about his mom. Mommy took me here. Mommy brought me that. Likes to play here with mommy all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does Bryan get any kind of special support or counseling?

D. SCHULER: No, yes, the school's excellent. He's doing really good in school. And everything is somewhat back to normal. If he wants to talk about it, he will, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have tried to poke and prod and things I'm curious, and he said mommy's head hurt, she couldn't see. I said, "Oh, Bryan, I said -- Jay, I told you, her head hurts, she couldn't see." And he said - I said, "Oh, and that's when the crash happened." And he said, "I flew out of the car like Superman." Since he came home from rehab, and I started spending my days with him, the story's never changed. Never, ever changed. Mommy's head hurt, she couldn't see."

Diane called and said we're running a little late because the girls had play practice. And we had a great time, everything's great. All laughing, kidding around. And Diane said, all right, they told you about the play. The play, get me two tickets. I think Erin will sit on my lap. Then they said, "OK, we'll see you soon."

GERALD SALERNO, WITNESS: We were traveling back on the thruway heading south. We were driving in the center lane and the vehicle came up rather quickly in the right lane and moved into the center lane, moved back into the right lane and continued to make a series of movements changing lanes rather aggressively. We both looked and we saw a woman grasping on to the steering wheel, appearing to concentrate as she was driving. And the last movement it made it made from the right lane and it kind of cut off a car in the middle lane and the car of the truck actually swerved out of the way to avoid it.

But each time it made the movement, it did it - the vehicle was kind of - it was very precise. It would move into the lane, it would move out of the lane, and it was done with some degree of precision.

And there came a point in time where we actually could see children's heads kind of swaying back and forth as the vehicle moved.

FRANCIS BAGLEY, WITNESS: Coming down the thruway going to the rest area, I thought we passed her. She pulled out and got right behind us. She was so close to me I could see her headlights. The next thing you know, you started hearing the horn beeping.

JEAN BAGLEY, WITNESS: It made me nervous. In fact, I braced myself for an accident because I thought she was so close behind us.

FRANCIS BAGLEY: The way she was driving I thought she was, you know, just some sort of nut coming behind me and then when she tried to pass me again on the shoulder, that's when I really thought it. And then she just pulled right back in behind me.

JEAN BAGLEY: The honking happened as we were getting off the exit for the thruway into the rest area.

We stayed straight which went into the car lane, and she veered off into the truck area. And I did see her open the door, get out of the car, and possibly she was going to get sick to her stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What made you think that?

JEAN BAGLEY: She was kind of bent over a little. My husband and I then walked into the rest area and she wasn't there when we came out again. It was 12:30 p.m..

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you had a do-over, what would you do?

FRANCIS BAGLEY: I would have confronted her. You know, then we probably would have seen those kids in the car. We probably would have seen that there was, you know, there was something wrong, you know?

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: How do you, as an investigator, explain the toxicology report with high levels of marijuana in Diane's system? How do you explain that?

THOMAS RUSKIN: I can't explain.


KRISTINE PUVOGEL, DIANE'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: I can't really remember a point where Diane wasn't a part of my life. I remember girl scouts with her. Soccer teams together. Going to first grade. I can't remember her just not being there.

MICHELLE FEDERLEIN, DIANE'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: You would hang out with her at school and you had the best time ever because she was the class clown, then you wanted her to come to your house because she was always fun. She always made you laugh.

NICOLE MESSINA, DIANE'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: I moved to Ft. Park in fourth grade. That's when I got involved with the whole group of girls. We were definitely, I wouldn't say crazy, but we were loud. We were fun. You know, we liked the attention. I was most spirited. Diane got loudest in our class. I mean, senior superlative, she got like seven of them. She was loudest, most fun to be around. Class clown. Actually someone that didn't like to be in the spotlight, she was in spotlight because she had just such a big personality.

Diane always had a good head on her shoulders and, you know, was very responsible from an early age. She lived with her father and her brothers and, you know, she was, like, the woman of the house. She had to clean the kitchen, you knows, she had to do wash, you know, somebody's got to take on the motherly role, so to speak. You know, she definitely did it well.

PUVOGEL: She really never dated while we were younger, and I think because she never really had that companionship growing up, or, you know, never had a boyfriend or anything. So when she met Danny, like, she was going to experience everything that, you know, we all had a chance to experience.

FEDERLEIN: That was her first love and i think she knew that, you know, it was going to be her only love.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you explain the bottle of vodka?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state police stated that there was a bottle of Absolut vodka in the van. Do you know where that came from? Whose it was? No explaining?


LARRY KING, HOST: Daniel, how do you explain the vodka?

DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE SCHULER'S HUSBAND: We usually would keep it in our camper throughout the whole season. One bottle.

KING: Why? Why?

JAY SCHULER, DIANE'S SISTER IN LAW: You know, you have pina coladas.

D. SCHULER: Sitting by a campfire, cooking marshmallows.

KING: What was the vodka bottle doing in the car?

D. SCHULER: My wife packed all the bags that day in the camper and leaves them by the door. I carry them from the camper to the trucks. I'm very surprised that the vodka bottle was in there. I had no idea.

KING: Does it give you pause to think that maybe, just maybe, she was a drinker and you didn't know it?

D. SCHULER: I've been with her 13 years. Absolutely not.

KING: Daniel, why appear here? Why keep on doing this?

D. SCHULER: The truth - truth will come out.

JAY SCHULER: But Larry, you have to understand, Danny doesn't want the other families to think that a drunk driver killed their families. That's why we are out to prove that she - try to prove that she wasn't drunk.

MARGARET NICOTINA, MICHAEL BASTARDI'S DAUGHTER: I forgive Diane Schuler, I pray for her like I pray for my father and my brother and those children.

The family that's still alive, I'm still working on.

Even the lies about the bottle. It's not our bottle. Oh, yes, we kept the bottle up at the camp. We brought it back and forth. The stories just kept changing. They just kept changing. Like I said, if you just come forward and say, "I'm sorry, she made a mistake, you could accept that."


NICOTINA: But to have to keep lying and try to cover up - why? What are you trying to cover up? What happened?

GUZZO: I would say to him, what transpired between you and your wife, right -

NICOTINA: That pushed her.

GUZZO: Right, that pushed her. Then I'd say to him, you know, what's with the denial? You denying this is enabling other people to do the same thing. I mean, the right thing to do is to admit, you know, my wife was drunk. Don't let this happen to your family.

SCHULER: Here you go. Doctor, May 25th.

DR. HAROLD BURZSTAJN, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Someone is gone. It was a deep, deep wish to find a way to remember them, which in a way is the silver lining to the loss that people experience.

In forensic psychiatric autopsy what we do is attempt to piece together the state of mind and who the person was at the time of the events in question. People are seeking to preserve her memory. At the same time, they want to find out what actually happened, because it's such a tragedy and such a mystery. And right now they are constricted. The choices they have is to either accept her as someone who was bad, which they cannot, because she wasn't bad, in their relationships. Or to be able to - or they're focusing on some medical event for which there's no evidence in autopsy.

The problem is when someone is being demonized, the tendency by those who remember that person is to try to make them into a saint.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to show a nice photo album daddy made you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to show her?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to show the picture of you and mommy upstate?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then the one of mommy and daddy.

IRENE SCHULER, DANIEL'S PARENTS: He was madly in love with her. And I said he met the right girl finally. She was lovely. She was so motherly. You know, I mean, I spoiled my son, Danny, and she spoiled him.


IRENE SCHULER: She called him. She was the boss. She made all the decisions and Danny was like her oldest child, you know, and he - he loved Diane. Diane, like I said, made all the decisions and he was like her oldest boy. Yes. Diane, she was an amazing woman. She worked her way up. She was an extremely smart woman.

JOSEPH SCHULER: Run for office.

IRENE SCHULER: She had her own secretary. They loved her there. She has a lot of friends in CableVision. A lot of friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very capable.


SUE TROCCON, DIANE'S CO-WORKER: She seemed to be very good at whatever she attempted. I mean, she was very good at her job. She was a take charge person, too. You know, something came on, "Oh, this person's going to have a baby, oh, all right, OK, you go out and get this, and we'll go do that. You get this, and we'll get together." It's just the way she was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything was ironed and down to, like, the littlest thing, like her pants were ironed, her shirts for ironed, this was ironed. The kids' clothes were ironed. I'm like, when do you do this?

IRENE SCHULER: She made me a book with all the little pictures of the children. She had to put the kids to bed, she'd work on it every night. And then she was starting another one for me. The end. I said, "Diane, where do you get the time?" Because by the time she would leave my house and get home, it was 7:00 in the evening. Then she'd feed them dinner. Then she would bathe them. Then she would take Bryan and read his book to him then put him into bed. Then she would cuddle and pick up little, Erin, and read her a book. And would carry her in to bed.

And then she found time to work on these little books. And then Danny would come home, she'd have a snack with Danny. But then she's back up again in the morning. I really - she'd throw laundry in the meantime. What are you up all night or what? You know? To be so organized. You know?

NOREEN SMYTH, DIANE'S FRIEND: She made it look easy, and they worked opposite schedules, her and Danny. You know, which, you know, could be stressful. But she didn't make it seem that way. Bryan and Erin, my Erin, started preschool together. And we would see each other on a daily basis. I was the second parent there every day, and she was the first. And she came from Babylon. I live right around the block from the preschool. She was not only on time, the kids were dressed impeccably. There was never, like, a stain on their shirt or tooth paste on the corner of their mouth, a hair out of place. Very on top of things. She chaperones for school trips. She put herself on a list to donate things for school parties and everything. She did it all. You know, and she worked full time. So.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you think she was, like, the supermom that she never had?

SMYTH: I think so. I think that drove her drove her to be, you know, definitely laid the groundwork for what type of a mother, you know, she was going to be.

WINFREY: How do you as an investigator explain the toxicology report with high levels of marijuana in Diane's system? How do you explain that?

RUSKIN: I can't explain it. What I will tell you is what we are doing, is I wanted to determine if those results are correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Schuler family has been trying to raise the money among the family to pay for the additional tests that need to be done to try and clear Diane's name.

KING: Daniel Schuler and the Schuler family felt so convinced in Diane's reputation and her background, which is substantiated so far by our investigation that they went out and they paid out of their good money for a private investigation firm to come in and look at this, and take it where it leads it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I know is when I got - when this first happened and we got Dominick and Dominick gave us Tom, I'm like, all right, this guy is going to save the day. He's going to save the day, he's going to find out what happened to her, he was totally like you're right, she wasn't drunk. He's like, it just doesn't make sense. Everyone who I spoke to, and everything was about "All right. We've got to get this done, I'm getting the samples, I'm getting this, getting that, and we're going to need more money. $10,000, then $30,000." We don't have this money. We're taking it from - borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Diane was the breadwinner. But I convinced everyone, follow Tom. Tom's going to do it, and nothing was done. Nothing was done. How do you do that to people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you spoken to them at all?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened there?

D. SCHULER: Don't know. As soon as we paid him, he disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was Ruskin's job? What was he hired to do?

DOMINIC BARBARA, SCHULER ATTORNEY: Ruskin was hired to go out there, finding out things, collect information. I used him on two prior cases, and he had done a good job. I don't know what happened here.

I picked up the newspapers every day, and I was - with great chagrin, where is he going? I don't understand. We put our point out there. Now let's wait and see what happens. Every day there was something new in the paper. I just wanted Ruskin to come under control.

Have you interviewed him yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been trying to set that up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm okay. How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. Just a bit busy. When I was speaking to my people, my agent, my attorney, they said 20, 25,000, otherwise, you know, it's just not worth your time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. It's not even in the ballpark of what documentaries, you know, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wouldn't supply the test results. We would not supply the pictures and the video. It's not worth getting it out of archive where we stored it, running around, spending our time doing that, versus working for a client for tens of thousands of dollars a day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just ironic that you can get these so quickly helping us and we've asked for these for a year.

That's when she was on prenatal vitamins. When she got pregnant. Do you remember her having trouble sleeping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she got, hydrocodone. That's the dentist.

D. SCHULER: She would always do this, I noticed. Always -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rubbing the side?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tooth was bothering her? OK. So (INAUDIBLE) cleaning and x-rays. Yes, she had it. She had a root canal. Then they went to go in and do more. She really would not get that finished. It was too - she just hated it, right?

D. SCHULER: Yes. Too much pain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then an all exam, no cleaning, so obviously still having pain. Was that the last one? Wait, 7/31/08. That's a year before. Maybe it was the same tooth that was bothering her all since '05 and she never got worked on it. This is the one that they said she went and then she left. They said that she left the dental officein the middle of it.

All we wanted was a starting point of what happened to her because if she stopped Advil or Tylenol or something, something was bothering her. IT was bad.

Yes, I feel like I can look over these all the time, but will just come to conclusions in my head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At approximately 1:00 p.m., Diane called Jackie, this is the phone called where she sounded disoriented.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He basically stated like she didn't sound like herself.


JAMES BOYLE, INVESTIGATOR: At approximately 1:00 p.m., Diane called Jackie - this is the phone call where she sounded disheveled and disoriented.

JOSEPH BECERRA, INVESTIGATOR, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: He basically stated she didn't sound like herself. At one point he called him Danny, which is her husband's name. He knew something was wrong. The kids were crying in the background and he told his sister to stay put, that he'd be right up there.

STEVE FISHMAN, JOURNALIST, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: When there is an incoherent phone call with her brother, her oldest niece is apparently on the phone to her parents saying, there's something wrong with Aunt Diane.

JAY SCHULER, DIANE'S SISTER-IN-LAW: They're saying, Aunt Diane can't see, Aunt Diane can't -- something is wrong with Aunt Diane. They were pulled over at that point, and Emma told her dad, where they were. Read me a sign, and she said, Tarrytown.

FISHMAN: Warren races up from where he is in Long Island to the Tappan Zee Bridge to try and find Diane.

MICHAEL E. ARCHER, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST: She leaves her phone on the Jersey Barrier, the divider, at the Tappan Zee Bridge. The phone was located right after the Tappan Zee Bridge toll on a pull-off off to the right. Someone had found her cell phone sitting on a guide rail. Her entire route up until the Tappan Zee Bridge is consistent with what she would have normally done. Then it's becomes unclear as to why she got off the highway and where she went.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you all right?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, thanks for doing this. Was she your closest friend?

LIPANI: I would say, yes. She was. And we were kind of not very similar in a lot of ways, like, I'm a very easygoing person and let a lot of things pass. And she was -- had to be in charge of everything. And there was nothing left to chance. You know, everything has to be planned and precise.

She's certainly not a perfect person. You know, she loved you, she loved you. If she didn't like you, she could be difficult, you know. You know, she didn't let anything go, you know. She, you know, somebody was rude or -- you know, she'd call them out right there. You know, she was OK as long as she was in control of everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you guys every have conversation about any kind of pain she was having?

LIPANI: You know I know -- I know she did have issues with -- like especially that last week, every time I would see her, she would be holding her jaw, or moving her mouth -- you know, like moving her lower jaw. Knowing her and knowing -- what kind of person she was every day of her life and how she conducted herself, as crazy as it sounds, people grasping for, you know, reasons, it seems more plausible to anybody who knows her that something medical could have happened to her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did shy seem at all upset that week?

LIPANI: No. Not at all, and Diane was not the type of person to ever hide her feelings. If she was upset with you, you knew she was upset with you. You know, she wasn't the type of person that would not smile if -- you know, and just pretend. If she had -- if something was wrong, she would have said something was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she talk about her marriage with you?

LIPANI: Not really about her marriage. You know, I know to me she just appeared very content, you know, very happy with the way her life was. You know, never heard her -- she wouldn't discuss her marriage, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When was the last time you had spoken with her?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten years? So what happened with you guys that you didn't speak for all that time? How did that work? How did that work out?

FEDERLEIN: You know, Dhani just likes to do Dhani and they like to do their own thing. And we never got into a fight. There was never an argument, there was never a reason why we stopped talking. It just stopped. That's it. There was no -- there's no rhyme or reason why it ended.

NICOLE MESSINA, DIANE'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: I was the actually the only one that was invited to the wedding. And I did not go, by choice, because Diane and I didn't have as close a bond as we had, and it was upsetting. And I had -- I had my first child already, and, you know, like Diane wasn't there for that, which was weird. So -- excuse me. So I think for me, like I couldn't take part of -- this part of her life without the connection we had, yes, so --

DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE'S HUSBAND: See if we can match the DNA. To my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if that DNA does match the sample, what will come next?

D. SCHULER: The medical part, right? That's what I'm waiting for, the medical part of it.

J. SCHULER: Yes, so this is '05, four years before. Grinding teeth, sensitivity to cold, loose teeth, broken fillings, and tooth pain, endured difficult, pain. Does that say abscess? Maybe that was the same tooth that was bothering her afterwards. You know, it's so funny, she never even tell people she was going to the dentist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not like people would know she had pain?

J. SCHULER: No, never. She's like I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.

FISHMAN: Diane was a very private person. People who knew her said to me over and over again that Diane didn't talk about personal matters. She never articulated feelings about anybody.

LIZ GARBUS: Hi, this is Liz Garbus calling again.

LIPANI: Her mom was like a nonissue. I don't really think she wanted to interact with her. She talked about her dad. She adored her dad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know why her mom left her? Do we know why she left her dad?

LIPANI: I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't want to talk about her mom?

LIPANI: No. I'm sorry.

MESSINA: I don't even know 100 percent the background of the divorce. I just know everybody -- they were all very angry.

FEDERLEIN: The mother left with the next-door neighbor.

MESSINA: I think it was like a family friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But, you know, she never complained about it. She never talked about -- it was as if like -- almost like she wasn't even there.

JIMMY SCHULER, DIANE'S BROTHER AND JAY'S HUSBAND: One time I talked to Diane's mother, and she said I'm not the bad person. Whatever that meant, I don't know, so I told that to Diane when I came home. She didn't want no (INAUDIBLE).

FISHMAN: Diane's mother reached out time and again trying to reconcile, trying to develop a relationship with Diane. And Diana has brothers, and Diane's mother had a relationship with her sons, Diane's brothers. So it was really uniquely Diane who held some kind of unarticulated grudge against her mother.

DR. HAROLD BURSZTAJN, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Parents get divorced, but it's very rare that a 9-year-old daughter would not go with her mother in a divorce at that particular point in time. So Diane herself needed to use some denial to go ahead and survive the trauma of being abandoned by her mother at the age of 9. Of course it's very painful for a 9-year-old. And I think she had that vulnerability about her.


BRAD: My name is Brad (INAUDIBLE). I'm actually trying to help a friend right now. They're on their way home from a connecting trip with their aunt. They just called the -- my friend's house, describe -- saying that the aunt is driving erratically. They're at a rest center, the best they can understand is that they were in Tarrytown or Sleepy Hallow, those were the signs that they saw.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The aunt isn't picking up the cell phone right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what kind of car they're in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they're in a minivan, it's red, and it had a ski rack on it. Jackie couldn't -- she's flipping out. She can't remember her license plate number.

KENNETH J. CANO, ZONE SERGEANT, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: Just based on what Miss Jackie Hance told me, that this was out of character for her sister-in-law not to answer the phone, and also the fact that one of the children had mentioned that her aunt wasn't feeling well, I asked Mrs. Hance if Diane Schuler had any history of medical problems. I think I even asked her, you know, if she had any history of drug abuse. And again, these are questions I would ask anybody.

And she said no, so at that point I kind of treated it as an overdue motorist/possible medical emergency, but at that point we were just checking to see if we could locate the van.

ARCHER: There's a number of ways that she can get to the entrance to the Taconic. She could have gone up and come across. She could have gone up to Taconic and simply made a U-turn. So how she got to that exit ramp, we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State Police, Sergeant Temple.



MILLER: Listen, I have a family here that thinks that they might have a medical emergency of their sister and she's got five kids in the car.


MILLER: Do you know if there's any way that we can track her cell phone to get a location if I give you a number?


MILLER: The last name?


MILLER: S-C-H-U-L-E-R. But on her voilcemail she says Hance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hance. That's her maiden name.

MILLER: So which name would the phone bill be in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Danny, the phone bill's in Schuler or it's in Hance?

MILLER: He's yakkin on the phone with his brother-in-law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Danny, does your cell phone bill come in Hance or Schuler? Danny, you with me?


JIMMY SCHULER: I got a phone call from my brother-in-law, Diane's brother. Then I got my keys and my brother, and we went upstate.

D. SCHULER: He asked me if I would take a ride with him, would have -- back at state because they couldn't find Diane.

JAY SCHULER: I was at work. And I heard Jimmy call and say Danny's coming over, he needs me. We're going to find Diane. At that point we just thought she wasn't feeling well.

BETSY SPRATT, DIRECTOR OF TOXICOLOGY, WESTCHESTER COUNTY: You don't want to touch that. This is an area where we set up our alcohol levels for whatever sample we're testing, so it's blood, urine, brain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this where Diane Schuler's blood alcohol?

SPRATT: Yes. When we talk about the effect first of alcohol the frontal lobe of year brain starts to be affected around .01 to .10 percent. Diane Schuler had just over 10 drinks in her at the time that she died. Her blood alcohol was 0.19 percent, and the vitreous humor was 0.23, and the gastric contents were 0.25.

DR. CAROL WEISS, ASSOCIATE PSYCHIATRIST, WELL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE: I'm a psychiatrist, trained in general psychiatry and did additional training in drugs and alcohol. Once you start getting over 0.2, then you start getting into alcohol toxicity. That's the level where people are showing up -- needing to show up in the E.R., becoming unconscious, having blackouts, and even going into coma.

SPRATT: With the marijuana on board, one and one don't equal two anymore. They potentiate each other, so then she stopped the effect of the marijuana as well as the effect of the alcohol.

WEISS: Alcohol may increase the absorption of the marijuana, so that people who drink first may experience stronger effects, so if she wasn't accustomed to drinking and smoking at the same time, the marijuana affected her so much more than she had anticipated. And marijuana being a hallucinogen, your cognitive function can get -- can deteriorate pretty rapidly.

SPRATT: The THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana, her level was 113 nanograms per mil, it was very high. So we were able to tell based on research that she could have smoked anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before she had this accident. Marijuana is our number one drug of choice after alcohol or with alcohol. In fact it's outpacing alcohol as being found in drunk drivers, throughout the nation, not just here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One thing that they mentioned in this thing is about the pot. I mean, what do you make about that?

D. SCHULER: It's not true at all. Not true at all. On a rare occasion she would, but definitely not that weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it something she used to relax? Was it something she used to stress? Was it something she used for fun or --

D. SCHULER: On occasion, on occasion to relax. That's all not true. Everything in here is not true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When did she use marijuana? She used it when she's at work --

JAY SCHULER: No, no, it was, I think, mostly to be able to get a good night's sleep. I think after everything was done, clothes are ironed, when she's done, kids are in bed, books are read, everything was done. And maybe she'd have some before she went to sleep. It wasn't like you would ever think she -- you know, you never look at her and think she smoked pot, but some pot, but some people do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she ever discuss it with you like why she took it or what was the --

JAY SCHULER: No, I just knew that she smoked.

BURSZTAJN: The question is, why did she need to use marijuana to help her relax? To help her go to sleep? What was so painful for her? There was something in her life that was not controllable basically from the age 9 on. If you cannot control what happened at the time that it happened, they themselves become hyper responsible, tightly wound. And she was OK as long as she was in control.

WEISS: Having a history of an early loss or trauma definitely predisposes one toward, you know, both mood disorders and addictive disorders. So statistically, she's at risk.

BECERRA: The witnesses I interviewed had encountered Diane Schuler's vehicle just prior to the accident. They were getting off Pleasantville Road exit, and they observed her coming at them the wrong way coming down the exit ramp of the Taconic.

PETER ROYAL, WITNESS: It was literally as if we weren't even on the road.


P. ROYAL: She's coming toward us, you know, I mean, I'm blinking my lights, beeping the horn, and she's flailing. And we drove up on the grass because otherwise we would have been hit. She never put on a brake, she never even -- her eyes didn't even move.

E. ROYAL: It was, I'm going where I want to go, I'm doing what I need to do, I'm where I want to be.

P. ROYAL: And she went around the bend onto the highway itself.

ARCHER: We know that Diane Schuler enters the Taconic State Parkway going south in the northbound lane approximately 1.7 miles north of the point of impact. She drives this 1.7 miles at a high rate of speed, and you have half a dozen callers to 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State Police, 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State Police, you got on northbound Taconic, there's a minivan in the right lane going southbound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm at the Taconic Expressway, we just passed 100 exit -- 100-C there's a car going like 70 miles an hour in the wrong direction.

PETER GROTTO, WITNESS: It was surreal seeing it coming at you so what you had to do is, you know, thank God there was nobody on the side. I was able to go over a couple of lanes as the van came by me and I said at the time at 70 miles an hour because it was speeding right by. Dead pinned straight. Pinned straight. It wasn't doing this. It was dead pinned straight. Right after it happened that's when I called 911.


GROTTO: Yes, you got a guy driving south on the northbound Taconic Parkway. I was in the left lane. He's going like a bat out of hell, should be on the parkway right now. It's a minivan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State Police, 911, where's your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I'm on the Taconic -- hang on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The van that's going southbound?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they're going out for it.

EMILY FREIDBERG, WITNESS: Yes, I just remember saying oh, my god, oh, my god, I was just, you know, trying to, you know, draw attention to get validation from Rich that maybe something peculiar was there on the road.

RICHARD MOREL, WITNESS: My heart was going about 200, you know, beats a minute and, you know, just to react quickly, get out of the way, and then the car went past us.

LORNA RAMOS-MOREL, WITNESS: It's like playing chicken. I mean, she was going straight on the road. We saw something coming at us. We reacted, we moved. She had no reaction at all. She didn't stop, she didn't slow down, she didn't move. I thought it was someone who was dead-set on killing themselves.



JAY SCHULER: Hi, Dr. Spitz.

SPITZ: I don't know if I can get up here because I'm all wired.


JAY SCHULER: Yes. Very nice to meet you. D. SCHULER: How are you?

SPITZ: Nice to meet you.

JAY SCHULER: Thank you for making the trip. We appreciate it.

SPITZ: OK. The autopsy report includes chemical analysis, toxicology, and I interviewed some witness statements and police statements. And I gained the impression that the autopsy was done properly and was done well. So is there anything that would, based on the autopsy, account for this crash? Alcohol and marijuana actually would.

JAY SCHULER: We obviously don't know much about this, but she would not do this. There is something wrong with this picture, and I don't want her being a poster child for drunk moms, because she would never do that. You tell me my sister does it? My own sister who passed away? I'll tell you yes, she probably was drinking 100 percent, but this just wasn't Diane. This wasn't his wife. She'd be the very one that would, like, yell at us or kick or butts.

SPITZ: What are we going to do?

JAY SCHULER: I just feel, which, you know, is just me being my strong opinion, is as soon as they saw alcohol, it was all stopped. OK, she was drunk, she was high, that's it, categorizes that, drunk mom driving five kids in the war.

D. SCHULER: What about the abscessed tooth?

SPITZ: The which?

D. SCHULER: Abscessed tooth.

SPITZ: An abscessed tooth?

D. SCHULER: Could that cause a stroke?


SPITZ: Could that cause a stroke?


SPITZ: In theory, yes. But based on the autopsy, there is none that I saw on microscopy. A stroke is something like this, and it doesn't cause alcohol --

JAY SCHULER: But could that reading be a mistake due to other medical conditions that people don't know that she had?

SPITZ: It could, but the question of the alcohol will always prevail.

D. SCHULER: So say we exhumed the body and there's a really bad abscessed tooth. You have x-rays from years ago.

SPITZ: But the question will still prevail, how could it have caused alcohol in the vitreous?

D. SCHULER: Maybe she had a stroke and by mistake, she thought it was water and drank it.

JAY SCHULER: We don't - if someone tells us - we want to know physically happened. If she did have alcohol in her, did she top and be incoherent and do something medically happened to her? We're even willing to say that. But there's no way if she was in her right state of mind she would go and take that bottle. So, if you tell me she was having a stroke or she was hallucinating, or she wasthis or she that due to an abscess, we're going to have to live with that.

SPITZ: If she does are an abscess, she could have had such pain, she takes whatever is available to alleviate the pain.

D. SCHULER: Thinking - no. I don't think so.

JAY SCHULER: She would either have to be not thinking it's water or --

SPITZ: She's not thinking clearly because she had a tooth abscess.

D. SCHULER: Right. Right. That's what I'm thinking.

SPITZ: Okay. So if she had a tooth abscess, what you could do is say to yourself she had severe pain, and she had to alleviate that pain now. Not in an hour, now.

D. SCHULER: So she drank 1.9 --

JAY SCHULER: In 45 minutes?

SPITZ: You know --

D. SCHULER: Someone who drank once a month maybe?

SPITZ: Look, it really doesn't make sense, my trying to convince you. You have to have your satisfaction. Your satisfaction is only if you're going -- is only going to be achieved if you send it to another laboratory to redo it.

JAY SCHULER: So that would be the next step?

SPITZ: That's the only way I know what to tell you.

JAY SCHULER: And then also with exhuming, that's the way to go, right?


JAY SCHULER: It's very frustrating. People have promised us the world that they would find out, get to the botTom, retest everything, do this and do that. And nobody has done anything. It's been a year and three months.

SPITZ: You mean when you say people --

JAY SCHULER: Our investigator was supposed to get the samples and send them to another lab to check DNA?

SPITZ: And he didn't do it?

JAY SCHULER: We don't know. That's what we've been asking for. Right?


JAY SCHULER: We do appreciate you looking at everything and doing this.

D. SCHULER: Thank you so much.

SPITZ: You're welcome. I sincerely hope that you find peace with this.

JAY SCHULER: It's 5:00. I need, like, 100 cigarettes.

So? Why are you looking at me like that? You don't feel encouraged?

D. SCHULER: Did you?

JAY SCHULER: I'm encouraged enough that he's willing to protest it.

Yes, I was a little surprised at how they're very -- a little surprised that he doesn't think there was an error. Hopefully we'll be pleasantly surprised.

No one in my family knows I smoke.



BARBARA: Thank you. Therese, come in, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had a conversation with the lab, and they indicated to me that Tom Ruskin had sent them the samples, and they had giving Tom Ruskin results. But they couldn't give me information, because that all belonged to Tom Ruskin and we would have to go through Tom Ruskin to get that information.

BARBARA: And did we call to get the results?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They won't give - to who? To Tom Ruskin?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did. That's when we started to place all those phone calls he didn't respond to.

BARBARA: He didn't send any samples? Letters? Anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we never heard from him about any of that.

BARBARA: The biggest problem I have in this case is what happened with the investigator. And that's something I have to live with.

JAY SCHULER: So Danny couldn't call the lab, even though he retained Tom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's crazy, but it seems to be the case.

TOM RUSKIN (via answering machine): I can't pick up your call right now, so please at the tone leave a message. And I'll call you back as quickly as I can.

JAY SCHULER: Hi, Tom. It's Jay Schuler. Long time, no talk. I really, really, need to talk to you, and really need you to call me back. Thanks, bye.

D. SCHULER: There's just so much pushing I can do. I have to take care of my son and working, there's just so much I can do, you know? It's getting old fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's getting old?

D. SCHULER: Everything.

JAY SCHULER: He has different views, and it's black and white with him, very black and white. He has completely different views about things. You know, he's -- I don't get it. I know it sounds stupid, but he's off all day. You're off all day, you don't -- you don't even see Bryan. You bring him to school, you see him for five minutes and then you go. I'm working 14 hours, and then I'm going over there and I'm doing things. I don't understand what you're doing to me. Why are you getting crazy? You're off all day. It's driving me insane.

So, I told him, (INAUDIBLE) you're going to go back, you're going to start working during the day and you'll find out what a real working parent feels like. I said because you have it made right now. And everyone is like why don't you put your foot down about him?

He didn't realize how he comes off sometimes. Like he'll be like Bryan is like, clean it up, come on, let's go. And Bryan is looking at a picture of Mommy and Erin. And he's -- yes, yes, you're right, I miss them too, blah blah blah. I said, you don't notice how you sound. You don't sound like, that's right, Bry, I know you miss them. He's like, what? That's not going to bring them back. He has to know. This is life. This is the way life is now. It's like, okay, but he can cry. You can cry. We can all cry. What is that going to do? Well, let him be sad.

The only positive thing is we've got Bryan in therapy. Because Bryan was having a very bad meltdown last month, extremely bad, about mommy. And he doesn't want to hear it, Danny. But I spoke to a pediatrician, and the pediatrician told him you have to get him enrolled. So we have an appointment tomorrow at 10:30.

I told him, he has to work on forgiveness about Diane, because he does not forgive her at all for what happened. And the reason why he doesn't forgive her is he said, oh, I never wanted to have kids, and this is where I'm left now. And she was supposed to do all this. I said, okay. It's all right to be pissed at her. You know, everyone's pissed at her. I said that's okay, but you have to work through it. He's like, what's there to work through? This is my life. This is it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the people in the cars got involved and actively tried to help. Some were on the phones with 911. And some were just screaming. The scene was very chaotic.


DR. HAROLD BURSZTAJN, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: There will never be a concrete answer with absolute certainty which can be given as to what happened. But there's several plausible hypotheses.

Is it possible that that day in question she was in so much pain she went to analgesics, gel caps? When there was none available, could she anesthetized her physical pain by maybe just taking one drink so she could relax enough to drive, and then she lost control? She lost perspective as to how much she was drinking?

That kind of slippery slope does occur. And people who have a deep pain sensitivity, who cannot stand feeling helpless and feel the need to be perfect. She has had reasons in her life for all three.

DR. CAROL WEISS, ADDICTION PSYCHIATRIST, WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE: Did she consume an initial small amount in her right mind, not impaired? Did she think because the kids were there, did she think she had to get in a lot quickly and misjudged? And in fact shot her blood alcohol concentration up much higher than she thought it would? And then something happened that she then consumed in a way that was very dangerous and very unlike her?

You know, there was something beyond intoxication. Did she have (inaudible) infection going on? Did she have a fever? That combined with the marijuana and alcohol could certainly precipitate a delirium. A brain event that triggered where she was beyond poor judgment, she was not in her right mind. But we don't know what she was thinking, hearing, feeling.

JAY SCHULER: Hi. Tom, I do appreciate you calling me back.

RUSKIN: I always call you back.

JAY SCHULER: Yes, no, I'm just -- you know what, Tom? I'm just so upset, because I don't know what happened.

RUSKIN: With what?

JAY SCHULER: All I know is when I spoke to Therese, she said we needed you to get an approval to say that you can release some things.

RUSKIN: Let's put it this way, all right? As I promised Danny, we retested the beginning of last year. And I devoted my time, because there was no additional monies. But I sent the results to them.

JAY SCHULER: To Dominick?

RUSKIN: I never even heard back. And I called Danny and you.

JAY SCHULER: Well, I was told not to pick up, because at this point, they didn't feel -- they didn't believe you were doing anything.

RUSKIN: Whenever that was, I was trying to give you the results of the test.

JAY SCHULER: I don't know what to do anymore.

RUSKIN: Well, we retested the samples, and it came back the same. The toxicology and the autopsy was correct.

JAY SCHULER: But can't you see how confused I am now?

RUSKIN: We'll never know if Diane purposely did this. We'll never know.

JAY SCHULER: Tom, you know, I'm just spinning around in circles.

RUSKIN: And I can understand.

JAY SCHULER: I have one person saying one thing, I got another person saying another thing. And then I do believe Diane wasn't drinking. All I want to prove, if there is alcohol, what happened to her?

RUSKIN: All I can tell you is all tests were consistent as if Diane had drank and been high that day.


JAY SCHULER: It's just overwhelming.

RUSKIN: So you tell me - listen. I've always been straight with you. If you believe me or not, I can't help that.

JAY SCHULER: Tom, that's the whole thing. I've always believed you.

RUSKIN: I will tell you one thing further: the DNA was hers.

JAY SCHULER: So what am I supposed to do now, Tom?

RUSKIN: You tell me. I mean, I'm returning your call.

JAY SCHULER: I don't know.

911 OPERATOR: Police, 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God! There's been an accident, there's been an accident!

911 OPERATOR: What mile marker are you at?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What mike marker are we at? What road is this? Sleepy Hollow? Pleasant Road -- 911 OPERATOR: Hold on, stop yelling.

911 OPERATOR: 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, I'm an off-duty New York City police officer.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Are you out at the scene right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm at the scene.

911 OPERATOR: Are there any injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we have fatalities.

911 OPERATOR: Fatality at the scene? OK, stay on the phone with me, let me give you EMS. Hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Sent an ambulance. We have a possible car fire. The car may blow up as well.

911 OPERATOR: So a car fire and fatality?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have numerous fatalities.

911 OPERATOR: Numerous fatalities?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is at 4.1 northbound Taconic, 60 control.

STEVE FISHMAN, JOURNALIST, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Diane Schuler drives against traffic for 1.7 miles in the fast lane, never veers. Seems to have a serene, almost oblivious look on her face. And kills eight people. The worst accident in recent memory.

MICHAEL E. ARCHER, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTIONIST: Diane Schuler hits the Bastardi vehicle. The Bastardi vehicle then crashes into vehicle number three. The Schuler vehicle goes off the road, down the hill, rotating, and eventually begins to burn.

EDWARD BLAIKIE, WITNESS: A lady was screaming in Spanish, there were kids in the car. So I went down the hill with this other fella. And we were trying to get the door open. The door wouldn't open. We were looking for the driver, we couldn't find her. The car was fully engulfed in the front.

KEVIN MARTZ, WITNESS: We're the first ones there, and we just kind of circled the car, checking the doors. He checked the other side, I checked the driver's side, it was locked. I went around, and ended up breaking the passenger side window to unlock the door.

BLAIKIE: We finally got the door open. The guy I was with, he opened the door and her body fell on top of our legs.

MARTZ: When she fell out, she, like, rolled into the two of us that were standing there. Literally I had to step over her to reach in for the kids. BLAIKIE: We were just concentrating on getting the kids out of the burning car. They were piled on top of each other. One adults handed me the girl. I laid her on the grass, put my head on her chest, I talked to her, I prayed to Jesus to help her wake up. Please make her wake up. She wouldn't wake up.

JAMES BOYLE, INVESTIGATOR, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: At 1:30 p.m., I got a phone call from the traffic management center. Traffic was completely stopped. I had to drive on the shoulder of the road to get there.

When I got there to the scene, I saw a minivan, which was burnt in the median down a hill. I also saw two SUVs northbound on the Taconic State Parkway. These vehicles had extensive damage to them.

JOSEPH LAGRIPPO, FORMER CHIEF, HAWTHORNE FIRE DEPT.: Some of the people in the cars got involved and actively tried to help. Some were on the phones with 911, and some were just screaming. The scene was very chaotic.

I proceeded to look for any other signs of life from the others, the victims, and I immediately noticed a little boy. Bryan was hurt, hurt pretty badly. He was combative, he was crying, which is a good sign. That's why I immediately put him in the first ambulance.

BLAIKIE: I didn't even know he was there. But he was underneath everybody. Thank God he was underneath. Then I went to the top of the hill, and I lost it. I started crying. I tried to go help the other fellows that were in the car crash. And they were dead. I felt all their pulses. They were dead. One fellow was hanging out of the car.

LAGRIPPO: There were some people that did attempt to take pictures of the victims, which we wouldn't allow. We put sheets up to preserve their dignity. It was the only thing we could have done at that point. There was no one more to help.

JAY SCHULER: Jackie sent this card to Evan. It says, "Hi, Evan, I miss seeing you, Bryan, your mom and whole family. Warren and I are broken, but you need to go and have a happy life. By doing this, you will show Bryan that he can do the same. My life ended July 26th, 2009. For whatever reason, my purpose for living was taken. When you have children one day, you will understand you live and breathe for your kids. Warren is having a hard time. All the women in his life have left him, and he won't let me out of his sight. I pray our pain ends soon, and I can see my girls. Give Bryan a hug and kiss, and know you are a great person with a lot to give. Love, Jackie."

BURSZTAJN: Whatever happened in this tragedy, there was no evidence that Diane Schuler was a bad person. What evidence we have is that she was a very good mom and a very good person generally, maybe a bit too good. Maybe a bit of a perfectionist.

I don't see any evidence that what she did was intentional. Given the fact she was generally someone with very high standards for herself, was someone very socially connected. She had good protector factors. So even if she found out some horrible news, I don't see it likely she would kill herself, especially not in the manner that this tragedy occurred.

It's hard to imagine, isn't it, that simple coincidences can be a major tipping point and can result in a major catastrophes? It's not something we are built as human beings to be able to live with.