Audio and video footage from the devastating crash on the Taconic Parkway that killed eight people over the summer has been released for the first time.
Driver Diane Schuler's autopsy showed she was drunk and high at the time of the crash, yet a four-minute surveillance video taken of the woman at a Sunoco gas station in Liberty a few hours before she barreled into another vehicle doesn't indicate anything was wrong.
The video, obtained from the Westchester District Attorney's office, shows Schuler walking into the gas station, apparently unperturbed. She walks up to the counter, possibly looking for something (early reports said she had stopped to ask for pain medication) and then leaves.
The video also shows her red minivan pulling out of the gas station lot, but she isn't driving erratically.
Transcripts of telephone calls from a friend of Diane's brother, Warren Hance, whose daughters were killed in the crash, and Thruway police were also obtained by Lohud.com. The call logs indicate a friend of the Hance family called state troopers three times between 1:48 p.m. and 1:54 p.m. inquiring about the whereabouts of Diane Schuler's car and the kids. After that, state troopers exchanged two calls pertaining to the vehicle – one at 2:13 p.m. and one at 2:20 p.m.
Unfortunately, the urgent calls came too late. Schuler plowed head-on into an SUV 10 minutes before the first one went through, killing herself, her daughter, three nieces and three men in the SUV. Only her 5-year-old son, Bryan, survived.
Initial toxicology reports indicated the Long Island mother of two had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit and had smoked marijuana as early as 15 minutes before she drove nearly two miles in the wrong direction on the Taconic on July 26.
Daniel Schuler, Diane's husband, and his attorney have repeatedly denied allegations that Schuler drank or was a drug addict. Two weeks ago, it was revealed, however, that Diane and Daniel had two strawberry daiquiris two nights before the fatal journey and her sister-in-law said that she smoked marijuana regularly to combat stress.
Meanwhile, the family's private investigator, Thomas Ruskin, has said the Schulers have raised enough money to exhume Diane's body and retest her remains in an effort to disprove the toxicology findings.