A police interview with Diane Schuler's husband Friday did little to explain her death, with Daniel Schuler reporting that she seemed "perfectly fine" hours before she drove the wrong way on a highway and hit another vehicle, a crash that killed her and seven others.
"The bottom line is he was unable to give us any information that would explain the circumstances of that accident," said State Police Senior Investigator Robert Bennett.
Daniel Schuler told investigators his wife was feeling fine when she left the upstate campground at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Schuler said he and his wife left in separate vehicles with the plan that she would stop and have breakfast with their daughter, son and three nieces and they were planning to meet at home in West Babylon for dinner.
"There was no indication anything was wrong. It was a normal morning leaving the campground as they always do," Bennett said.
The weekend was normal as well, other residents of the Hunter Lake Campground said. Sharon Gregor of Massapequa, whose camp site was near the Schulers', said she and her husband saw the family throughout the weekend.
The day before the crash, she said, "They had all the kids. The back of the truck was all full of the beach stuff."
While her husband said Diane Schuler seemed fine that morning, at 1:02 p.m., she called her brother, Warren Hance, from her minivan, apparently after pulling over near the Tappan Zee Bridge. She told him she wasn't feeling well, was disoriented and having trouble seeing. The phone showed several missed calls starting at 1:15 p.m., State Police Lt. Dominick Chiumento said.
At 1:35 p.m., Schuler drove with the children past two "Do Not Enter" signs and up an exit ramp onto the Taconic State Parkway. She made it about 1.7 miles before collided with a sport utility vehicle carrying three Yonkers men.
The head-on crash sent her minivan onto a median, where it burst into flames.
Killed in the minivan were Schuler, 36, and her daughter, Erin, 2, of West Babylon; Hance's daughters, Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Kate, 5, of Floral Park.
The men killed in the SUV were Daniel Longo, 74, Michael Bastardi, 81, and his son Guy Bastardi, 49.
The lone survivor, Schuler's son, Bryan, 5, has been recovering at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
A motorist found Diane Schuler's cell phone Sunday in a pull-off area near the Tappan Zee Bridge and turned it in to Palisades Parkway police. State Police got the phone Monday.
Officials are pursuing subpoenas to acquire the records for Schuler's cell phone and E-ZPass. The minivan did not have a GPS, which might have provided information on her route, and none of the children in the car had a cell phone.
Investigators hoped to interview Hance late Friday, but were "waiting for an appropriate time," Bennett said.