This article explores the plausible connection between binge eating and binge drinking as a possible explanation for Diane Schuler's mysterious drunk driving accident that killed herself and seven others.
On Sunday, July 26, 2009, 36-year-old Schuler drove a Ford WindStar Minivan for 1.7 miles the wrong way down the Taconic Parkway, a scenic highway in New York. Witnesses say she was driving in a perfectly straight line at about 70 mph. At exactly 1:35 pm, Schuler crashed head-on into an SUV, which then hit another car.
Schuler, her two-year old daughter, Erin, and her three young nieces, Emma, Kay, and Alyson Hanse, were instantly killed. So were Guy Bastardi, Michael Bastardi, and Daniel Longo, the passengers in the oncoming SUV. Schuler’s five-year old son, Bryan, survived the accident with serious injuries, but all he recollects is that mommy had a headache and she couldn’t see. There were two other survivors in the third vehicle, but they escaped with minor injuries.
This was the most deadly accident on a New York Westchester County highway since 1934. Of course, all the deaths were tragic, but public sympathy ignited around Schuler's brother because all of his children died in the accident. Picture three smiling, long-haired girls all under the age of nine. However, the feeling of tragedy quickly morphed into rage when the toxicology report showed that at the time of her death, Schuler was high on marijuana and had the equivalent of 10 drinks in her blood (and even more undigested alcohol in her stomach). How could this happen to a woman responsible for transporting five children home from a happy weekend camping trip?
Schuler’s husband, Daniel, steadfastly proclaimed that Diane was no drunk. In an effort to clear Schuler's name, Daniel immediately lawyered up with Dominic Barbara, a high-profile attorney, and he hired Thomas Ruskin, a public investigator, to help make the case for Diane's innocence. Then, as now, Daniel paints a wholesome picture of Schuler as a perfect wife, an outstanding mother, and someone who didn't have a drinking problem. It’s still unknown how and why a dearly beloved, reliable mom from West Babylon (Long Island) who held a six-figure management job at Cablevision ended up drunk, high, and dead and took seven others along with her.