Husband: Mom in Taconic crash rarely drank

GARDEN CITY - (AP) - The husband of the Long Island mother who caused a car crash that killed her and seven others saidThursday she didn't have a drinking problem and suggested diabetesand other health problems were to blame.

"She was not a drinker. She was not an alcoholic," DanielSchuler said at a tearful news conference with his sister andlawyer. "Something medically had to have happened."

Schuler's attorney, Dominic Barbara, said the 36-year-oldhad diabetes, a suspicious bump on her legand a mouth abscess that hadn't been treated for weeks before thedeadly July 26 wreck.

"I think she had a stroke of some sort," Barbara said. "Fromthe stroke came all the other issues."

Police say Schuler downed more than 10 vodkas and smokedmarijuana before driving her minivan nearly two miles on theTaconic State Parkway and slamming head-on into a sport-utilityvehicle. Her 2-year-old daughter and three nieces were killed withher, along with three men in the SUV. Schuler's 5-year-old sonsurvived.

Her blood-alcohol level was more than twice the state's legallimit, and she had smoked pot as soon as 15 minutes before thecrash, according to toxicology reports from the Westchester Countymedical examiner's office.

Daniel Schuler said that he never saw his wife drunk since hemet her, and that the couple went through a normal routine on theSunday before he last saw her at a campsite in upstate New York.

"She was fine," he said. "We had a cup of coffee in themorning, we packed the cars up like we always do and we headedout."

Daniel Schuler went fishing for the day, while Diane Schulerbegan a 140-mile trip home to Long Island with her kids and threenieces, ages 5 to 8. The fiery wreck happened about four hoursafter she left, and after motorists called 911 to report hererratic driving on several roads.

Barbara said a frequent baby sitter for the West Babylon couplenever saw Schuler drink or smoke pot. Her sister-in-law alsodefended her.

"Family was the most important thing to her," said JoySchuler, Daniel's sister. "There was no way she would everjeopardize the children."

The family has not decided whether to seek another autopsy forSchuler and is awaiting more information from the county's autopsyreport, Barbara said.

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