|The Schuler family (Newsday)|
A lot of the attempts to get down to what truly happened on July 26 in the hours leading up to the crash have begun to focus on the people around Schuler - namely her husband Daniel Schuler, who departed ways with Schuler at the family's campsite that morning, and her brother Warren Hance, who spoke with her after she left the campsite but before she began her fatal drive the wrong way down the Taconic State Parkway, eventually slamming into an oncoming SUV containing three people who were among the eight dead.
While Schuler's husband told investigators that his wife drank socially and occasionally smoked marijuana, there is no indication from either the Schulers or the Hances that Diane Schuler had a problem. However, to drive five children in a minivan while swigging vodka (a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka was found in the charred wreckage) and smoking pot does not come in an overnight transition. It's possible that Daniel Schuler's revelation that a sudden medical condition caused his wife to drink and smoke, but the ME has ruled out a medical cause (including diabetes - one of Daniel Schuler's theories).
I'm not going to say that Daniel Schuler or that Warren Hance knew that Diane Schuler had a problem. I will say, however, that having seen alcoholism firsthand, it is hard to ignore. I also find it very difficult to believe that a person would allow a relative to drive his children knowing that she was capable of something like this. We may never know what happened when the Schulers parted ways that morning or exactly what was said between Diane Schuler and her brother, but it seems that we do know what happened and the tragic results that Diane Schuler's problems reaped. If, in fact, Daniel Schuler or Warren Hance knew that Diane Schuler had a problem and/or knew that she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, the fact that they could have prevented the deaths of their loved ones and three innocent people will haunt them for the rest of their lives. If they honestly did not, then we may never know what truly caused Diane Schuler to go over the edge.