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No charges in wrong way crash

November 15, 2009 7:41:19 PM PST
No criminal charges will be filed in a wrong-way crash that killed an intoxicated woman and seven others. Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore made her decision after meeting Tuesday with state police and some victims' relatives.

DiFiore says because Schuler died, no one will be prosecuted.

That includes the woman's husband, Daniel, who left a weekend family camping trip in a separate vehicle.

State police were finally able to talk to Daniel Schuler at length last week. It was the first time since the horrific crash that killed his wife, Diane, and his daughter, along with three of his nieces and a father, son and their friend from Yonkers in a separate vehicle.

Investigators have been reconstructing details prior to the accident in which they say Diane Schuler had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and had also smoked marijuana.

After stopping to call her brother and complain she was having trouble driving back to Long Island, Schuler then continued on a deadly journey that would eventually have her heading the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway.

She drove the wrong way for nearly two miles before crashing head on into the SUV. Schuler's vehicle rolled down a steep embankment and burst into flames.

Questions had been raised about whether or not Daniel Schuler knew his wife was intoxicated.

Schuler, a Nassau County public safety officer who is assigned to a security detail at a park, cooperated with investigators "to the extent his lawyer allowed him to," state police Maj. William Carey said. When asked for clarification, Carey said Daniel Schuler declined to answer any questions regarding marijuana use.

DiFiore said it is still not clear why Diane Schuler had smoked marijuana within an hour of the crash, or why she was so intoxicated.

"The question of personal or moral responsibility may never be known," the prosecutor said.

DiFiore made the announcement about deciding not to file charges after a meeting Tuesday with some victims' relatives.

"I'm behind them 100 percent," Michael Bastardi, the son of one of the crash victims in the SUV, said of police and prosecutors.


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