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2-year anniversary of deadly Taconic crash

The remains of a minivan along the Taconic State Parkway near Mt. Pleasant, N.Y. on Sunday, July 26, 2009. The minivan driven by Diane Schuler, 36, came to rest after entering southbound in the northbound lanes, 1.7 miles north of this median. The van burst into flames as her vehicle collided with two northbound vehicles, killing eight. The crash killed Schuler, her daughter, Erin 2, and Schuler's nieces, Emma Hance, 9, Alison Hance, 7, and Kate Hance, 5. Killed in a second vehicle were Guy Bastardi, 49; his father, Michael Bastardi, 81; and a friend, Daniel Longo, 74, all of Yonkers, N.Y. The lone survivor of the crash was Schuler's 5-year-old son, Brian.
July 26, 2011 2:13:23 PM PDT
A memorial service Tuesday morning marked the two-year anniversary of the tragic wrong-way crash on the Taconic State Parkway.

Mourners laid flowers during the service, which was held at St. John the Baptist Church in Yonkers.

On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler, of Long Island, went speeding down the highway in the wrong direction with a van full of children.

Today was a somber, painful trip to the scene of the accident for members of the Bastardi family, who placed flowers, shed tears and prayed. It was two years ago Michael Bastardi, his son Guy and family friend Dan Longo were killed in a horrific crash that claimed 8 lives, half of them children.

Diane Schuler was drunk and high when she drove nearly two miles at 85 miles-per-hour in the wrong direction before crashing. The head-on collision killed Schuler, her daughter and her three nieces. Autopsy results showed Schuler had consumed the equivalent of 10 drinks and smoked marijuana during the drive from a Sullivan County campground.

The grim anniversary has also been marked with an HBO documentary on the crash. It focuses on Daniel Schuler's ongoing attempt to find an explanation for his wife's actions, other than her intoxication.

The film also offers a first look at Bryan Schuler, the sole survivor of the accident. The boy still practices daily visual exercises and remains in therapy as part of his physical and emotional rehabilitation.

A number of lawsuits are also pending. Daniel Schuler is suing the state, claiming poor highway design and lack of signage that would have alerted his wife that she was driving the wrong way. The Bastardis have filed a lawsuit of their own.


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