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Husband defends woman in crash

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — She couldn't have been drunk and stoned. Her husband had never seen her intoxicated before. And there were absolutely no marital problems that could have sent her over the edge.

In an anguished, sometimes angry news conference, Daniel Schuler refused to accept an autopsy report that showed his wife had the equivalent of 10 drinks and smoked marijuana within an hour of the wrong-way highway crash that killed her and seven other people.

"I never saw her drunk since the day I met her," Daniel Schuler told reporters at a news conference outside his attorney's office. "She was not a drinker. She was not an alcoholic."

He suggested anything from a stroke to gestational diabetes to even an abscessed tooth could have caused his wife to act irrationally in the hours before her death.

Daniel Schuler also disputed reports that problems with their marriage drove her to the bottle, calling her "a perfect wife" and saying he "would marry her again tomorrow" if he could.

Diane Schuler, 36, drove the wrong way for nearly 2 miles on the Taconic State Parkway and struck a sport utility vehicle. The July 26 crash killed her 2-year-old daughter, three young nieces and three men in the SUV.

Family of the men in the SUV had questioned how Schuler's family could have been oblivious to an alcohol abuse problem and suggested criminal charges were possible. An attorney for the victims' family didn't return calls Thursday.

A preliminary autopsy of Diane Schuler ruled out a stroke, heart attack or aneurysm, Westchester County officials said. The medical examiner said Thursday that he stood by his report that found her blood-alcohol level was more than twice the state's legal limit and that she had high levels of the key ingredient in marijuana in her system.

Police said Thursday that Daniel Schuler wasn't cooperating with their investigation. Officers that came to Long Island "for a prearranged interview" were not allowed to question him.

Husband defends woman in crash 08/06/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 6, 2009 10:53pm]
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