Jackie Hance says she should have found a way to protect her three daughters on the day they died in a head-on crash on the Taconic State Parkway four years ago.
In an interview with NBC set to air Friday night, Hance reflected on not being with her children, who were being driven home from an upstate camping trip by her sister-in-law, Diane Schuler.
"I'm their mom, and supposed to, you know, protect them," Hance says as she wipes away tears. "And I didn't. It's just hard to not blame yourself."
Hance and her husband, Warren, of Floral Park, lost Emma, 8; Alyson, 7; and Katie, 5, in the crash that killed five others in July 2009. Schuler, of West Babylon, who was drunk and high at the time, drove south in the northbound lanes of the Westchester parkway into a sport utility vehicle, authorities said.
Hance tells Ann Curry the tragedy threatened her marriage and led her to consider suicide. Although she shunned the media after the crash, she's now written a memoir about her daughters' death and the painful aftermath. "I'll See You Again" is to be released next week by Gallery Books.
An audio excerpt of the book on her publisher's website recounts the emotional moment at the hospital when her husband learned the girls were gone: "Warren slams his fist, making a hole in the wall, then another. He would punch a hole in the universe if he could stop time, make it turn back."
Schuler, 36, Warren Hance's sister, had consumed the equivalent of 10 alcoholic drinks and smoked marijuana before the crash, authorities said.
Schuler's son, Bryan, then 5, was the sole survivor.
Jackie Hance in the August 2011 edition of Ladies' Home Journal revealed she was pregnant with a baby girl, later named Kasey Rose.
Jackie Hance tells Curry she hopes readers will learn about her daughters as people and not crash victims -- especially those who could have been a part of their lives in the future.
"My greatest desire is for people to know them . . . [who] never got to know them," she said. "And maybe, like, Alyson's art teacher -- future art teacher, Emma's future mother-in-law, or Katie's future college roommate, you know, or somebody who didn't get the chance to meet them might meet them through the book."