July 26: New York State troopers investigate the scene of a fatal accident on the Taconic Parkway in Hawthorne, N.Y.
Relatives of the Long Island mom who caused a deadly crash on a Westchester highway that killed eight people — including herself — should have been aware of the woman's drinking and drug problem, lawyers for the family of two men who died in crash said Wednesday.
Lawyers representing the Bastardi family said they plan to sue the relatives of wrong-way driver Diane Schuler — calling it "inconceivable" that they were unaware she was drunk when she crashed a minivan full of kids on July 26 into Guy and Michael Bastardi.
The two men — along with family friend Daniel Longo — died after Schuler's minivan collided with their SUV on the Taconic State Parkway.
Schuler's brother, Warren Hance, told police that his sister called him at about 1 p.m. — about 30 minutes before the fiery crash — telling him she felt dizzy.
Police said Hance told her to pull over and that he was going to pick her up. Instead, Schuler, 36, ignored his order and drove the wrong way for 1.7 miles along the Taconic.
"They've been given a platform they didn't ask for," lawyer Marshall Adam Neimark said after the family met privately this morning with Westchester prosecutors.
Neimark and his partner, Irving Anolik, spoke a day after authorities said Schuler was drunk when she drove the wrong way along the Taconic and crashed.
State police said Schuler's blood-alcohol level was .19 — more than twice the legal limit of .08 — after chugging down the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka.
Schuler, who was on her way to Long Island from an upstate camping trip, also had marijuana in her system and smoked the drug as little as 15 minutes before the 1:35 p.m. crash.
"Any person who was aware that she was drinking is an accomplice," said Anolik. "She didn't just wake up one morning with a drug problem and capable of drinking that much alcohol."
He also said that "there's a strong fragrance of criminality" — and plans to file a civil suit against the Schuler family.