Taconic Mom Drunk, Not Sick, Final Autopsy Says

The family of the woman who was drunk and high when she drove her minivan the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway and slammed into an SUV, killing eight people, had no other medical conditions that explain the crash, according to the final autopsy report released today.

The autopsy report, prepared by Dr. Aleksandar Milovanovic of the Westchester County medical examiner's office, describes Diane Schuler's body and her injuries in grotesque -- but makes no mention of a tooth abscess, a lump on her leg or diabetes - three medical issues cited by her family's attorney as potential causes of the crash.

The autopsy report rules out a heart condition or problems with Schuler's brain, such as an aneurysm or stroke. It does again confirm that she had alcohol in her brain and urine, along with her blood, stomach and eye fluid as has been previously reported.

Earlier this week, an investigator hired by her husband, Daniel Schuler, says the medical examiner's report, which the family received last week, shows no sign of cirrhosis – a sure indication of a habitual drinker.

Schuler is scheduled to appear on CNN with Larry King on Tuesday evening.

"The autopsy supports the claims of over 50 Diane Schuler's friends and family members who have never once seen this woman drunk," investigator Thomas Ruskin told the Daily News Saturday.

Schuler had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 – more than twice the legal limit – at the time of the crash and had smoked marijuana as early as 15 minutes before, officials say. Relatives of the mother of two have decried allegations she had substance abuse problems.

The Long Island mother was driving home from a camping trip when she got on the Taconic and drove nearly two miles in the wrong direction before plowing head-on into an SUV. Schuler, her daughter, three nieces and three men from Yonkers in the SUV were killed in the collision. Only Schuler's 5-year-old son, Bryan, survived.

Lawyers for the family of two of the Yonkers men killed in the crash dismiss Ruskin's interpretation of the autopsy results as a plus in the Schuler's column.

"The lengths these people are taking to deny reality are just astounding and painful to my clients," Irving Anolik, attorney for the Bastardis, told the News. "The fact remains that Diane Schuler was drunk and high when she killed all these people and the facts aren't going to change."

The Bastardis, who intend to sue Daniel Schuler in civil court, have their own concerns about the autopsy. They wanted officials to test hair follicle samples from Diane Schuler, which can reveal drug use dating back for two months. Weschester officials confirmed a hair follicle test hadn't been conducted, and one said that such tests typically weren't used in accident investigations.

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