Monday, February 20, 2017

Mystery Monday: Diane Schuler

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



***Warning: Today's mystery involves the deaths of children.***

Today's story starts and ends on the same day: July 26, 2009. It began at 9:30 a.m., when Diane Schuler left the campground where she'd spent a relaxing weekend. In the van with her were her two children, ages 2 and 5, and her brother's three daughters, ages 5, 7, and 8.



Her husband, Daniel, left the campground around the same time. The drive home should have taken only 35 minutes. She drove a 2003 red Ford Windstar, which looked something like this:



Soon after leaving the campground, Diane stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. The cashier at McDonald's recalled Diane and said everything seemed normal. The police confiscated video footage with a timestamp that verified she was inside the restaurant around 10:00 a.m. They confirmed there were no obvious signs anything was wrong in the footage.



At 10:46, Diane was caught on surveillance video at a nearby Sonoco. She parked at a pump and went inside.


Image credit: There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

Although there's no audio on the footage, the clerk said she asked for pain reliever after not being able to find it in the aisles. There were no indications anything was wrong in the Sonoco footage, either.


Image credit: There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

Soon after she left the station, drivers reported seeing her driving aggressively. She was tailgating, honking at other drivers, and weaving in and out of lanes. At approximately 11:45, a driver reported seeing her at the side of the road. She appeared to be sick.


Diane and one of her nieces

Around 1 p.m., Diane called her brother (and the father of the three girls in the car with her) to say they were delayed. He later said she didn't sound like herself. He spoke to one of his daughters, who said, "There's something wrong with Aunt Diane." She said her aunt was having trouble seeing and speaking incoherently.


Diane's nieces

All further calls went to voicemail. Her phone was later found on a barrier. For reasons unknown, she stopped and set it on a guardrail just after the Tapan Zee Bridge tolls. Soon after, she got off the highway, veering from the route that would have taken her home.


Tappan Zee Tolls

At 1:33 p.m., 911 began getting calls about a van going the wrong way on the exit ramp. The van traveled 1.7 miles on that ramp before colliding with a Chevy Trailblazer. Diane was reported as driving as though nobody else was on the road, staring straight head without flinching as cars honked, flashed their lights, and drove off the road to avoid hitting her. The occupants of the Trailblazer (81-year-old Michael Bastardi, his 49-year-old son Guy, and their friend, 74-year-old Dan Longo) were killed. Everyone in Diane's vehicle was killed except her son. He suffered injuries but he recovered.



Diane's blood alcohol level was found to be 0.19. At the scene of the accident, witnesses confiscated a large, smashed, empty bottle of Vodka.

The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08. At 0.19, a person is said to be impaired in the following ways:



In addition to the blood alcohol level, approximately six grams of alcohol were found in her stomach that had not yet been absorbed into her blood. She also had THC in her bloodstream and doctors said she could have smoked marijuana as recently as 15 minutes before the accident.


Diane's husband still insists drinking and smoking marijuana is not like her. He questions the autopsy results and believes she suffered some sort of stroke, despite the autopsy showing no signs of that. Whatever happened, though, Diane Schuler's decisions that day led to the deaths of four children and three adults. This photo of the children was taken at camp the day before the accident.



What do you think was going on with Diane Schuler on July 26, 2009?

81 comments:

  1. Reading this my first thoughts were stroke or some type aneurysm but that doesn't count for the blood alcohol level. Wonder if the son was able to tell them if his mother had been drinking or smoking prior to the wreck? Sad story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and they said no evidence of stroke was found in the autopsy--I assume they would have been able to see if it was an aneurysm, as well? The boy couldn't remember much. All they've been able to get out of him is that his mom was having trouble seeing...

      Delete
    2. Maybe she ran out of percosets....withdrawal is brutal and flu like. Whatever it takes

      Delete
    3. I'm a very bad diabetic. I also suffer from periodontal disease and have had a stroke caused by one of these. I have terrible headaches that are unbearable. One night I picked up my daughter and her coach and I do not remember leaving the school. They said I was driving erratically and over 100mph. I left the interstate and slammed on brakes in traffic. I then started screaming asking where was I. That's when they begged me to pull over. I allowed my 15 daughter to drive home. I don't drive anymore but I could have easily had the same thing happen. The alcohol results could have come from something else. Marijuana stays in your systen for a while. So she didn't have to do it that day. I personally think it was the diabetes mixed with periodontal disease.

      Delete
  2. What a sad story. I can't help wondering if some physical problem caused her to act so erratically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...or maybe some emotional problem that led her to drink?

      Delete
  3. So tragic. I'm wondering why she had a bottle of vodka in her van - left over from the camping trip? - or did she make another stop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her husband did confirm that they had Vodka in their camper because sometimes they'd make a drink after the kids had gone to sleep. I assume(?) she maybe moved it from the camper to the van? Vodka is a favorite of drinkers who don't want their habit to be detected.

      Delete
  4. Maybe she got some sudden, acute attack of glaucoma who made her blind and going out of her mind. She could also have taken the wrong pill or something of the sort.
    It doesn't seem the investigation was thorough.I tend to believe to the husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the investigation was VERY thorough. Sorry if I didn't convey that! They found no signs of any health issues in the autopsy and a blood alcohol level that was more than double the legal limit. Actually, the autopsy results are available online if anyone would like to read them:

      http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/Other/schuler,%20diane_report.pdf

      Delete
  5. Possibly a reaction to the pain medication she bought that caused her to act irrationally????? Those poor kids. They must have been so scared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could be...at that particular location, they didn't sell pain reliever (which I find odd, since they have SO many aisles, but I guess not all convenience stores sell it!). But that doesn't mean she didn't stop somewhere else. And alcohol can react to pain medication, I believe? Although I also read that when you mix marijuana and alcohol, it can increase the effects of alcohol--not that her blood alcohol level alone wasn't enough to push her to behave erratically...

      Delete
  6. I think she may have smoked weed for the pain she was experiencing. The alcohol mixed with that might have caused the sporadic actions she took.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what a lot of theories I've heard say. I think the big mystery is what caused her to drink that much while driving children around? Why not get them safely home, THEN drink?

      Delete
    2. The story says the campground was 35 min from home. If they lived in LI, I can tell you that Parksville is a heck longer than 35 min. More like 2.5hrs.

      Delete
  7. What a tragedy. It sounds like she went completely out of her mind. Something's there that they haven't found. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They wouldn't have been able to see anything emotional/chemical that was happening--only physical. I'm guessing something drove her to drink that much with kids in the car (including her own). It had to have been some sort of mental break...

      Delete
  8. This is another scary one.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I remember when this happened. It's incredibly sad that innocent people/children were involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually first heard about it in one of Stephen King's books--he wrote a short story based on it. Then it showed up on one of the podcasts I listen to and I had to learn more!

      Delete
  10. This is very strange because, from what I am gathering she did not have a history of alcohol or pot use. I am wondering if she was hypoglycaemic. I am and one can get bad headaches, slurring of speech, anger, irrationality, blurred vision...all of this. If she was undiagnosed, she could have smoked up or drank alcohol thinking this would help because it gave her a momentary sense of normal only to come more crashing down. A few years back there was a woman also on the 401 freeway driving horribly and they were able to stop her. It was found she had a hypoglycaemic attack. The only way to test for this is a 6 hour test and she would need to be alive for this. She may have gone undiagnosed. I wonder if she was eating all the wrong foods, drinking more, sleeping anywhere she could. If you look it up, you will see how strongly it can affect people. The body produces too much insulin so ones sugar level goes way up but then crashes fast. A strict diet of no caffeine, no sugar and no starch is the best way but I bet, millions go undiagnosed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! So her blood alcohol level could have been falsely elevated by that? She actually did have a history of pot use, but not abuse...just light use before bedtime, I believe? And she drank, but she wasn't known to be an alcoholic. Although these days, how can you tell? So many people drink to what I see as excess, it's become almost normal for someone to drink every day.

      Delete
    2. I was thinking this as well. My son has Type 1 Diabetes and when first diagnosed (age 11) was acting very erratic. Had headaches, lack of sleep one day, and weak and lethargic the next. It really messed with his glucose levels & body. With her being overweight she may have been diabetic or pre-diabetic and didn't know it.

      I also heard about a person that was pulled over for drunk driving once, but never had anything to drink in their life. Ended up being an allergy to yeast. Their body was not able to process it. It is called Auto-Brewery Syndrome. When yeast gets trapped in the digestive system and causes the body to covert common carbs into alcohol. She did stop at a McDonalds that morning. Wondered if maybe she suffered from something like that, combined with the pot.
      So tragic and sad for all.

      Delete
    3. Exactly what I have been thinking this entire time!!! So there's NO WAY to test her body in any way 2 check 2 see if that was what was wrong with her?? You said she has to be alive I hope that's not the case.So hee family could go down that route & maybe get some closure. But the 1 thing I find sad is the dad saying he "didn't sign up for this" I seen where she was a super mom & needed to be in charge of everything, so that's why he's saying "I didn't even want kids" & something about getting on a plane to Alaska & the fact that the lady has to come over every day & tens to him & Brian even though he's home & works nights, I 4 SOME reason understand where he's coming from. He also says he's pissed off at her for "leaving him like this!" Single father who now has to try 2 be in control & in charge of a child when he never had to do it before. Sad so sad.

      Delete
    4. They said she was having problems with her teeth. Periodontal disease cause encephalitis. Strokes. Headaches. Blurted vision. On top of diabetes.

      Delete
  11. What a tragedy! I do think there was something more happening. There is likely a lot of background we don't know about to make a proper theory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, even with all of the interviews they did of family and friends, something doesn't add up. I suspect the husband knows more than he's saying--but he had to deal with lawsuits from victims' families, so it was to his benefit to deny that his wife could have been in any way at fault.

      Delete
  12. I remember Law one of the Law and Order shows did a story about this, even though they said it was fictional. Still so sad that so many lies were lost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect if I watched Law & Order, I'd probably recognize a lot of the cases!

      Delete
  13. So very tragic and sad. Forensics don't lie but you'd have to wonder why she drank like that with kids in the car, particular if she wasn't an alcoholic.

    Only a day ago, in Perth, there was a 45 year old guy driving in a very erratic manner. He was going off the road knocking down things in his path, then he was aiming directly at oncoming cars which had to desperately swerve off-road to get out of his way. It ended up where he hit an oncoming car head-on killing the 61 year old driver. Her passenger is in a critical condition and HE is also in a critical condition after he went threw the windscreen because he wasn't wearing his seat-belt. One of the drivers in one of the cars that had to swerve out of his way said that the guy was bouncing about in his seat and seemed excited and happy at what he was doing.
    You can read about it and see the footage caught on a witnesses dash-cam at this link - https://goo.gl/gSqtr1. Quite scary to watch.

    It makes me wonder what he was on? I feel so bad for the innocent woman who died at the scene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - There will be a short advertisement before the footage is shown.

      Delete
  14. What a terrible, heartbreaking story. It's difficult to read.

    Pat
    www.patwahler.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is so sad! I wonder if she had a stroke and that made her drink and smoke? Very horrible!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I couldn't even imagine what went on. It was so unlike her character assessment from her husband, all very strange.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I remember this from the news and I think Dateline or a similar show did a story. It was so sad and I think she was having more trouble than just the weed and vodka. Sad for her family to have doubts about her. No one will ever know what was happening to her.

    ReplyDelete
  18. i remember hearing this story - how tragic and sad. i could not even imagine what really happened, i don't think we will ever know the whole story. so sad for everyone involved!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. So sad - I remember hearing about this. I guess maybe we'll never know for sure. Hopefully her son has been able to mend mentally from this tragedy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh wow, that's so sad and also so strange. Obviously there must be more to the story that was never figured out because that's not normal behavior. I just can't see someone who didn't have a history of acting erratically putting a bunch of kids' lives in danger unless she had something going on physically causing it or unless something suddenly made her completely lose it. But what could possibly cause that kind of reaction during such a brief car ride?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ohhh, this is so sad, and even more strange for not knowing the whole truth behind what happened with Diane and what caused the erratic and strange behaviour, especially when you hear of her husband questioning the results, that must have been very difficult for him to take in, especially with the associated deaths as well, what a horrible situation to be in and so sad too for all involved. The thing that gets me the most is that photo of the kids the day before the accident - always really hits you when you see such happy moments before tragedy strikes. Difficult to read this one, especially because it still seems shrouded in mystery. - Tasha

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a sad story. All those darling kids.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow. I feel so badly for the children and their parents. I'd love to know what Diane's son said happened. Surely if his mom was doing marijuana or drinking, he would have noticed.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, how terrible & sad! At least there was one survivor. =(

    ReplyDelete
  25. Whoa! I do know that alcohol and THC are both central nervous system depressants, so they have a synergistic rather than additive effect, meaning that low doses of both can cause big impairment. A BAC of .19 could be bad enough on its own but add in THC and the impairment explodes. Maybe the substance use was uncharacteristic, but blood doesn't lie. I'm curious about the pain reliever angle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^^^I think this is likely the most accurate summation of what the issue was. When combined, those two are very dangerous, and it sounds like you really know your stuff! The convenience store didn't sell pain reliever...I wonder if the "headache" was a result of all that alcohol? Either way, I doubt she got pain reliever unless she stopped somewhere afterward that wasn't documented.

      Delete
  26. oh wow. It's always extra sad and creepy when a good person stars behaving erratically for no reason causing a tragedy. I would imagine a medication mixed with alcohol had those effects. :(

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a horrible tale! My guess is that she drank in secret since the husband questioned the results. Isn't vodka supposed to be harder to smell on one's breath? I suppose the deeper mystery might be: what was driving her to drink and use drugs?

    ReplyDelete
  28. What would have driven her to do such a thing on that morning, of all mornings? And where did she get the alcohol? It seems really odd to me that she'd do such a thing in front of all those kids when she was so close to home where she could have continued to maintain her (potentially secret) use and not put anyone in harm's way.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Who would do this with all those kids in the car? This is just awful.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That is just awful. I'm sure plenty of people wonder why...and how was she hiding this addiction? At least I'm assuming it was an addiction. I can't imagine anyone would just choose to do drugs and drive children around.

    ReplyDelete
  31. People drinking do not belong behind the wheel.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Stephanie! This tragedy sounds like something I'd see on Dateline or 48 Hours. How frightening for those children in the car with Diane!
    I really don't know what happened of course, but no one could force her to take those drugs. She may have gotten a tampered package of pain reliever too. Oh my...just too sad.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I remember this all over the news after it happened. So horrible. I think the woman was fighting demons and keeping it from her husband.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Just coming back across to say thanks for the lovely comments all of the time Steph! - Tasha

    ReplyDelete
  35. So tragic. Who can say? :( Hope the remaining family and boy can heal emotionally. <3

    ReplyDelete
  36. I don't really understand how the toxicology results fit, but it seems weird that the niece would only have said, "There's something wrong," instead of "Aunt Diane is drunk off her gourd and we need help."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alright, here is what I know. Wether you are a secret drinker or not, she was probably in a blackout.BLACKOUT, does not mean passed out.I know because I drank and towards the end that is what saved me. No I never drove any kids around,but it is the Grace of God I never hurt or killed myself or anyone else.She had gestational diabetes, not regular diabetes.It is insulting to the families who had loved ones killed that this family won't just say they are sorry.If you watch the video the father of the miracle boy seems like he is upset to even have this child alive.The tox reports which were tested in another lab by the family brought the same results. I admit the HBO documentary was haunting, and Diane seemed to love her family very much. This is enough already. Diane needs to rest in peace, as do the children and the families. God only knows why this happened.Her ridiculous husband is another creep. He was like a child as well, Even his parents said that he was an additional child And putting her death photos out there for her son to see (once on the internet always there) is horrible. It was hard for me to see ~~This could give her son some horrible flashbacks.

      Delete
  37. This is such a tragic and sad story. I feel there must be some medical problem with her but what confuses me is why she didn't stop and call for help, knowing that she had children in the car. Nobody can be so irresponsible, which leads me to the guess that she couldn't even think logically.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Sorry if this comment is too late, but I just watched the HBO documentary on this, "There's Something Wrong With Aunt Jane," and find it no less a mystery today than it was back in 2009-10. After seeing the documentary, most commenters seem to blame the husband, Daniel, for turning an obvious drunk-driving incident into a mystery out of some pathological sense of denial, but I think he and some other family members have a point when they say, even were she drinking, the amount and way in which the autopsy indicated she was doing it is inexplicable and out of character. Even the worst alcoholics don't normally do this, and Diane Schuler was both a perfectionist and loving mother who, if she were indeed an alcoholic, had until that day hid it so succcessfully even her best friend didn't know she drank more than occasionally. Why would she forfeit all control that day, and with children in the car? The facts DO leave fairminded people scratching their heads and wondering what really happened. Something was wrong here, and whatever it was that led up to this tragedy, nobody's yet fully explained what.

    And for what it's worth, reading the autopsy left me with yet another mystery within the larger one: Why does it say the dead woman had long, light brown hair when photos of Diane, as well as the video taken that day at the Sonoco, show her with short, dark hair? Did she wear a wig, or what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People with alcoholism can hide their addiction from even their closest of family members. My father was an alcoholic for 35 years and no one in my family ever saw him take a drink not a single one. This is very tragic but I think the best thing for everybody would be to accept the facts. As far as a stroke or some undiagnosed mystery illness I don't buy any of that. For a few reasons. Not only was there a bottle of vodka in her vehicle which could be argued that she was transporting it back and forth from the campsite and not actually drinking it. But there was alcohol found in her stomach. Alcohol that had not even been digested yet still sitting there waiting to be absorbed. So from what I understand her husband is thinking that's so out of characteristic for her that something other than her wanting to drink caused her to put that vodka in her stomach a mental breakdown the stroke caused her to drink the Vodka I've never heard of such a thing he's in denial he struggling he's grieving and he's trying to make sense out of something but the answer is obvious.

      Delete
    2. I've heard a lot of theories about, "closet alcoholic" but depending on the extent of this possible problem I would think organs would show possible signs? (liver, stomach, heart, etc). Not judging the husband at all & understand why he would not be completely transparent about their lifestyle but I feel he knows more. A tragic story for sure. God bless this family.

      Delete
  39. I've studied this case for awhile....the accident happened pretty close to where I lived at the time. The autopsy results don't lie....she was full of alcohol and weed. People who knew her say that's out of her character, though the husband and SIL both admitted she smoked weed and drank occasionally. My theory is that something happened that morning between her and her hubby--an argument of some sort, or perhaps she was hiding major depression. One of her character traits that everyone talks about is her desire to always be in control. She wore the pants in the family. The fact she obviously was suffering from PTSD due to whatever happened between her and her mom, along with the pressures of being the breadwinner in the family could easily cause depression. Strange how her brothers had a good relationship with their mom but not her, which leaves me to believe she suffered some sort of trauma as a child involving her mother. My opinion may not be a popular one but here goes....If she was in a ton of pain from a toothache or whatever then out of safety for the kids she would not have smoked and drank with them in the car--it goes against what everyone said about her in regards to being responsible. She would have simply stopped the car and called someone or an ambulance. This woman was experiencing a major psychological break down---which could have been set off further by a possible argument that morning with her husband. There was some rumor going around that he was having an affair, whether or not that is true only he knows. She had a death wish that day. That's why she pulled off the road and left her cellphone behind--turned off actually cause after that it went to voicemail. She purposely left it so none of the kids could call their parents seeing how right before she left it one of her nieces called her mom and said something was wrong with aunt Diane. The alcohol gave her liquid courage to do what she set out to do, plus the weed which was most likely smoked within 15 minutes of the crash. Yeah, her blood alcohol level was high, but I've known people with way higher limits that were still able to function. The thing that matters is her tolerance level--if she was a drinker and had a high tolerance then the alcohol level wasn't enough to make her so out of it that she accidentally caused the wreck. All witnesses say she was driving straight, not swerving at all, eyes looking straight, that she knew what she was doing. If the alcohol and pot made her out of it she would have been swerving like crazy, not able to drive straight and certainly not able to keep her eyes wide open and focused. Now her hubby is doing damage control trying to clear her name....there's a reason for it, maybe so he won't look bad for allowing his alcoholic wife to drive 5 kids home? I don't think anyone will ever really know what happened, but that's just my 2 cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. right on---ghastly---but there it is---the highly likely truth

      Delete
  40. Having family members that have suffered with alcoholism and addiction I can honestly say it makes sense to me why she drinks so much so fast. Apparently it was a 30-minute drive from the campground to her home. It was her only "alone time" away from her husband. She could have been suffering from detox for not being able to drink all weekend with her husband being right there so she could have taken that 30-minute ride home and try to quickly fill up thinking she would be okay cuz it was only a 30 minute drive. I'm thinking she was a closet alcoholic and I think that morning she drank too much too quick because her body needed it and she only had 30 minutes to get her fixed before she be with her husband again

    ReplyDelete
  41. I've watched the HBO documentary and looked at a lot of commentary on this. Noting on the documentary, there's a brief glance at her 'current medication' list where amidst the opiate pain medicine is Ambien. What a scary drug this is, prescribed for insomnia but induces bizarre behavior in a person who doesn't put themselves in a bed within a certain amount of time where it's safe to fall asleep without consequences. What I call bizarre about the behavior is that it doesn't appear impaired. Unless you know the person otherwise. This is why I've clung to the theory -- how witnesses describe Diane Schuler as driving pin straight and other than the aggressiveness, seemingly in control of her faculties. Pharmaceutical companies are pretty powerful and I can see a powerful squashing of any reference to common and well known medication that could have been associated with such a tragedy. But it would explain a lot that couldn't be explained by anyone who knew this woman-- why she'd ever gulp from a bottle of vodka and then light up a joint as an otherwise responsible parent and aunt. Why she took Ambien in the first place? A mistake, reaching for what she thought was something else in a pill case or desperate for pain relief and not knowing the danger? After ingesting it, all normalcy would have been abandoned as she became super aggressive but still able to drive pin straight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except there was no Ambien found in her toxicology report.

      Delete

  42. I just watched the documentary,sad sad story.
    Maybe the kids drove her out of her mind and she started drinking and smoking. She could have been in a fit of rage. Why didn't the husband take his son with him ? Most guys want their son with them all the time. Maybe they were fighting and she killed everyone out of spite. No one talks about any of this but it's on their minds. Whatever it was it's tragic and nothing with bring anyone back so let it go.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I just watched the documentary.

    The only thing that makes any sense as to why she would knowingly get that loaded was because she was trying to numb herself enough to be able to wreck and kill everyone in the van.

    I think the most important pieces of information in this case that we don't know and will likely never know is what exactly was said in those phone calls.

    ReplyDelete
  44. don't mean to sound harsh, but the beautiful children are with Jesus and they are at peace. Its that poor little Brian I feel sorry for, when the PATHETIC father said on the HBO special that he never wanted children and it was clear that he was pissed-off at his wife for leaving him to be a single parent. The only people this is a complete tragedy for is the Hance family and the families of the other vehichle. Can anyone remember Daniel Schuler even once mentioning the loss of his own daughter???

    ReplyDelete
  45. I agree. I want to know more about the phone call between Diane and her brother. I want to know why Diane was estranged so hatefully from her mother. I want to know more about the 3 wrong numbers dialled from Diane's phone - were they typo wrong numbers? Was she trying to dial someone she knew? I want to know if she and Daniel had edibles that weekend. I want to know if Daniel was having an affair.

    ReplyDelete
  46. JMO....I think Diane was a closet drinker/alcoholic who easily hid this from her husband because they worked opposing shifts and alcoholism is a family disease, a disease of denial. I would bet that family members had, at the very least rare red flags about her that were easily dismissed. I do not think why she drank that day is important. She was an alcoholic, she could have had a list of 50 reasons to pull from to use as an excuse to drink. Bottom line, she drank and lost control and in my opinion suffered a blackout. Crazy, inexplicable things can occur to people when they are in a blackout. Diane was a very sick individual who was suffering from an often fatal disease called alcoholism. The reason why she drank that day impresses me less than the families complete inability to even entertain the thought that she was a secret drinker.....I wish they would own it and educate themselves about alcoholism. They should not be burdened with blame however. It was Diane's actions and only Diane's actions that caused this horrific tragedy. One other thing that bothers me is the apparent lack of empathy/compassion expressed by Dan Schuler and other family members towards the Bastardi and Longo families. A simple and authentic "I am so sorry for the loss and pain that my wife/family member caused you" would have been huge for these people. I am from a family that has been touched by alcoholism several times over. At a young age I decided that I would not tempt genetics and have stayed away from alcohol and at age 60 am so glad I did.

    ReplyDelete
  47. watching this documentary and reading peoples comments I think all these people who have negative things to say should be ashamed of them selves because they don't know the truth and know one will ever know the truth and to degrade and attack the family is disgusting you would think people wouldn't be so judgmental but obviously there are soulless people in this world that would rather attack other familys in a tragedy so horrific unless you have had an event so horrific in your own lofe your shouldn't judge other people unless you have all the facts

    ReplyDelete
  48. At the interview regaurding the reason they had the vodka, they mentioned that they had it because they would make pina colada and margaritas....none of which ypu need vodka to make! Vodka is very easily hidden...mouth wash. I pray for the childre.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Ok, I've watched the documentary and have read a TON of comments. Here are my thoughts. Let's look at Diane's life and overall personality. She was abandoned by her mother at age 9 and left to be the "mother figure" to her younger siblings. Her dad did not appear to be a very emotional man (something drove her mom out of the marriage and into the arms of the neighbor man! Very selfish, but wouldn't happen in a happy marriage). She never had counseling and never discussed this abandonment with any of her friends during high school, nor did she discuss it as an adult with her friends NOR her husband! She gained a LOT of weight after her mom left, as a result of this trauma. It was the only way she could cope. This is how addiction begins. She learned no one was there to help her, so she had to do everything HERSELF, including handling her own emotions as well as her entire life. She was in a group of 4 girls (including her) in high school that were all good/great friends. Strangely, Diane exited the life of one particularly good friend when said friend became pregnant (before Diane had even ever had a boyfriend). She didn't speak to her friend ever again. (I think she was very jealous and desperately wanted children of her own to prove that she would be the perfect mother)... believe me, when children suffer some kind of trauma in childhood related to shitty behavior of the parents, the child will almost always try to prove their worth in other peoples' eyes in various ways; the person has an inner "need" to prove self-worth and it certainly doesn't come from within, because children ultimately believe there is something wrong with themselves that would "make" their parents do bad things (physical, emotional, sexual abuse)...

    ReplyDelete
  50. #2...Diane went the route of "perfectionist" despite the fact that she was not able to control everything, as evidenced by her perpetual problem with her weight (I have had the same thing, so I can attest to this.... I believe nearly ALL weight problems signify some kind of emotional distress stemming from some kind of perceived trauma in life). That's the unfortunate part of being overweight: you wear your "weakness" (and even food addiction) on the outside. Other people with addictions don't necessarily show it on the outside (functional alcoholics and drug addicts, including heroine!). The first boyfriend she ever had was her husband. He clearly stated he did not want children (likely many times) but she was in control of that relationship. He was seen as another of her children by the family... She was set to control and perfect the home life of her "fantasy" that she couldn't have as a child. Unfortunately, pushing marriage and/or kids onto a man is a recipe for disaster. She thought she had it all together. She was seen as the "perfect mother", the very FIRST parent at school every day to drop off her children, in perfect shape, "not a hair out of place". She worked in a high level position earning about $100,000 per year... nice work. She liked to WIN and be BETTER.... she would PROVE she was better than her mother (even if this is on the subconscious level). Over time, the "Perfect Family" facade began to fade and ravel and she likely was a closet drinker (and was known to smoke weed on the regular). So, it looks like she was using food, marijuana and alcohol to cope with her inner turmoil which she refused to assess or even acknowledge. For whatever reason, her husband lied to the police and said they left at the same time for their trip and arrived about the same time. Yet, it comes out later that he actually didn't show up until the next day. SO, she had to get the camper all cleaned up, shop for all the food for all 7 (I think) people, get all the clothes and camping gear and everything done because her husband didn't do shit. All he had to do was tow the camper and drive the DOG! Must be nice.

    ReplyDelete
  51. #3 I think she was at some kind of end point, slipping point and it is likely they got into it big time during the weekend. There is all kinds of speculation, but it appears there was an argument. To me, she didn't seem all that happy overall. Yes, she was a perfectionist, but was she warm and soft and loving? The sister in law said "I never knew if she really liked me"... she was always in control... if pictures had to be done, it was her barking out the orders, go sit there, smile, etc. etc. I think she was likely very edgy which probably got worse over time. Another BIG aspect that I have not seen anyone else discuss is this: I believe that when her brother began talking to their mother again, (and she clearly would NOT even talk to her mother) I think Diane became enraged at him and saw this as disloyalty to her (since she saw herself as the "mother" of the family). I think this probably bothered her VERY much but did not speak of it; however, it was suggested there was already a strained relationship there with his wife, too. I think that there was a bad fight on the phone after Warren's daughter called her mom and said "something is wrong with Aunt Diane"... she took the phone and said everything was fine and hung up! He called and she answered... and this is when he noticed slurred speech and that she called him "Danny" despite the fact she had just hung up on him.... very weird. Impaired. I think he started yelling at her for driving drunk or something like that and, combined with her deep down anger at him for talking to "mother", she went into a rage. She already started the day angry at her husband, which is why I think she drank. She planned on drinking before the drive because she purposely took the bottle to her car. She had a "headache", which may have been either a hangover from drinking the night prior and/OR from the years old tooth problem for which she could not handle to get done properly (as evidenced by a long period of jaw pain, walking 1/2 way through the dentist appt). She could have drank some alcohol to reduce the pain from either or both of those things. She was fine for a while.... we have no idea when she decided to smoke the weed. In the McDonald's bathroom? In the car? It wasn't long after that when people saw her honking and being aggressive in an attempt, I believe, to hurry up and get off the road to the rest stop because she was about to vomit. Mixing alcohol and marijuana is totally different than each individually. Mixing often leads to lots of vomiting. This probably made her headache worse, and so, she continued to drink alcohol and her behavior started spiraling downward....

    ReplyDelete
  52. #4 . I wonder if something just snapped inside of her after talking to her brother... this huge horrid feeling that her life was worthless; her marriage was shit. Nobody gave her the credit for all the work she did, especially her husband. She was the main breadwinner AND handled all the decisions for the household, took care of the kids, probably did all the grocery shopping, cooking, etc etc. A perfectionist can only hold this state for so long before their whole cover just BLOWS. And, with the mix of alcohol and marijuana, everything became extremely distorted and overwhelming. After thinking on this for a while, I think she decided to end it all. She had pulled off the side of the road to get her bearings, I think, but then her niece called and "told on her".... and then, talking to her brother, it was clear she was under the influence. I think everything just fell apart. She made a quick decision.... It's OVER. Put her phone on the side of the road, got back into the car.... drove several miles and found the exit ramp. I'll tell you, I've been in a car (NOT driving) having been drunk, having been high, and having been drunk and high..... and I NEVER can imagine that I would not have noticed if cars were honking and honking, flashing their lights, etc etc. She did not even act as though she noticed. Her mind was on the end. She seemingly drove quite steadily as she drove into her (and 7 others') death(s). What if her husband told her that he was "done" with the marriage and kept repeating the same old "I never wanted children" theme and she decided to just take that whole problem away from him? Of course, he is STILL a selfish asshole who does not want to be a single parent... it's so hard to work and take care of a kid (with a big family that is constantly there to help him). Perhaps he would have preferred for this kid not to have made it through after all. I don't know.... these are all just thoughts. I think there is MUCH more to the story, and many more unpleasant details about the marriage. (finally the end!)

    ReplyDelete
  53. I really think that it was a premeditated murder/suicide. If she was a closet alcoholic or something like that a bac of .19 wouldn't have caused her to not know what side of the street she was on. I understand what a .19 can cause, but if she was an alcoholic she would have had a tolerance. That just doesn't make sense to me. Also all that undigested alcohol. She was obviously chugging out of the bottle. If no evidence of a medical problem was found and she purposely left her phone somewhere (not angrily throwing it on the ground and breaking it or something like that) then she knew what she was doing. She probably drank and smoked to get her nerves up to actually do it. Her husband didn't want kids, so that's probably why she took hers with her; I'm not so certain on the nieces, but something definitely was going on. I don't buy the "alcoholic that lost control" theory. She definitely knew what she was doing.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I had heard about this horrible accident at the time and just watched the HBO documentary.

    It is sad that this occurred - Just from what her relatives said - I cannot imagine her taking the lives of children and drinking while intoxicated - she stopped for pain meds - she called for help.

    Since this accident there was an ABC news item http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mysterious-syndrome-people-drunk-drinking/story?id=36033416 and I have found an article where sometimes tomatoes have more THC than weed does. I do not believe the vodka bottle had anything to do with what happened.

    It is sad that her family is permanently scarred by this terrible tragedy - I can't imagine that her brother or his wife would have allowed Diane to have their kids in her care if they had any inkling that something was wrong.

    After watching the documentary - this haunted me - I do not believe that she did this on purpose - I believe she may have had a medical issue.

    ReplyDelete