Driver in Crash That Killed 8 Consumed Vodka, Pot

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 4, 2009 9:12 PM CDT
Caskets are loaded into hearses at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Flora Park, NY, Thursday, July 30.   (Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – The woman who drove the wrong way on a highway and caused an accident that killed eight people had vodka and pot in her system, police said. Diane Schuler, who died along with her 2-year-old daughter and three nieces in her red minivan, had more than 10 drinks of alcohol in her system and a high level of the main ingredient in marijuana. Police found a broken 1.75-liter bottle of Absolut vodka in her wrecked minivan.

The revelations from the 36-year-old Long Island woman's autopsy helped explain how the woman her family called "an accomplished working mother who always put her children before any other priorities" wound up driving the wrong way for nearly two miles on the Taconic State Parkway, near New York City, before slamming into an SUV on July 26. The crash also killed three men in the SUV. Schuler's 5-year-old son survived.