Jackie Hance -- the mother of three daughters killed in the Taconic accident two years ago -- has spoken out for the first time, in a first-person Ladies' Home Journal article out on newsstands today. By speaking she has, in effect, scooped the HBO doc which airs tonight -- "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane." (Newsday has reported on this Hance piece, by the way, advance copies of which went out to the press a while ago.)
Neither Hance nor her husband Warren participated in the film; Daniel Schuler and his sister, Jay, did -- both paid a stipend, per an earlier Newsday report.
Here's what Jackie says of the HBO doc:
"The split in our extended family makes it even harder. Warren and I have remained private until now, but Diane's husband, Danny, went public to defend her reputation and to search for another explanation for what happened to her. As I write this, I know that a television special made with his permission is about to air on HBO. I can't imagine what it will say. I hope there are answers to all our questions, but I don't know if I'll even be able to watch it. The film is called There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane. The fact that they used my daughter Emma's last words as a title only makes it that much more painful."
By the way, the doc producer, Liz Garbus, tells "Today" this morning that she now regrets using the title.
Here's my review. Space pretty much limited what I could say about what I thought about this program, but just to elaborate here a bit further: Garbus did a fine job, but nothing -- and I do mean nothing -- changes as a result. The basics remain -- Diane Schuler was drunk and high at the time, authorities said, and no amount of rationalization, and there is a bounty of it, by either Daniel Schuler or Jay can make that go away. The result is a strange disconnect, between facts and what Schuler's two lonely supporters want to believe. It's a terribly depressing and deflating 100 minutes, and if you have something better to do tonight, then by all means do it.