Major questions over Taconic Parkway crash tragedy

Posted by Kelly Fincham at 8/6/2009 2:17 PM EDT

One of the biggest stories in New York at the moment concerns a horrific wrong-way crash on the Taconic Parkway which killed eight people - including three children.

Diana Shuler, 36, from Long Island, was driving her three nieces plus her own two children home from a campground in the Catskills when she ploughed into a van carrying three men.

Her five-year-old son, Bryan, was the only survivor.

Ms Schuler had driven the wrong way down the parkway for 1.7 miles before she crashed into the oncoming van.

Earlier, she had called her brother (the father of the three girls) to say she was disoriented and was afraid to drive.

Her cellphone was later found at a pull-over near the Tappan Zee bridge miles from the accident.

The initial accident investigation focused on one obvious question.

What was she doing driving on the wrong side of the road?

An autopsy said there was nothing physically wrong with her.

She had no known illnesses or disorders.

And then, yesterday, a bomb was dropped.

Toxicology tests revealed she had more than 10 drinks of alcohol in her system and a high level of the main ingredient in marijuana. A crushed 1.75-liter bottle of Absolut vodka was found at the crash site.

The obvious conclusion - Occam's Razor and all that - is that Shuler was drunk and stoned as she headed down the highway with five children on board.

But the simple conclusion beggars belief. What kind of woman would drink 10 glasses of vodka, smoke a joint and then head off for a long drive home with five children.

There's something very wrong about this case.

I for one, am reserving comment on this until all the facts are in.

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