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Jackie Hance: suicide an option after daughters died in wrong-way crash

Warren and Jackie Hance and their children, left

Warren and Jackie Hance and their children, left to right, Alyson, Kate, and Emma, in an undated photo. The children were killed in a crash on the Taconic Parkway on July 26, 2009. Credit: Handout

The Floral Park mother who lost three daughters in the 2009 wrong-way Taconic State Parkway crash considered ending her own life by drinking antifreeze and overdosing on pills, she wrote in a memoir being released Tuesday.

And her new baby girl may have made the difference between living and suicide.

"By June, I'd be pregnant. Or I'd be with Emma, Alyson, and Katie," Jackie Hance wrote in her book, "I'll See You Again."

Hance and her husband, Warren, lost Emma, 8; Alyson, 7; and Katie, 5; four years ago when his sister, Diane Schuler, 36, of West Babylon, drove head-on into another vehicle on the Westchester parkway as she returned to Long Island from a camping trip upstate. Authorities found Schuler had consumed the equivalent of 10 alcoholic drinks and smoked marijuana before the crash. She was driving south in the northbound lanes.

Also killed in the crash were Schuler; her daughter, Erin, 2; and three Yonkers men in the SUV she hit: Guy Bastardi, 49; his father, Michael, 81; and their friend, Daniel Longo, 74.

The sole survivor was Schuler's son, Bryan, then 5.

The allegations that Schuler had been drinking and using marijuana shocked Hance, she wrote.

"If the toxicology findings were correct, my children didn't just die -- they had been murdered," she wrote.

Lawsuits have been filed against Daniel Schuler and Diane Schuler's estate, and Schuler has filed a claim against Daniel Hance because Diane Schuler was driving his minivan.

Though the Hances have largely avoided media attention since the tragedy, they spoke to NBC's Ann Curry recently about their grieving and healing process in an interview timed to the release of her book and set to air this week.

Hance's memoir details the deep depression that followed her devastating loss. In that period, Hance wrote, she struggled to keep both her sanity and her marriage intact. She also wrote about the supportive friends in her Long Island community who protected her and the wedge that was driven deep between the Hance and Schuler families.

Hance wrote she and her husband had no indication Schuler had a substance-abuse problem and added she never saw her sister-in-law consume more than the occasional beer.

She wrote that when she heard Schuler slurring her words during a panicked phone call that fateful day from her oldest daughter, Emma, she first thought Schuler must have been suffering a seizure.

The birth of their fourth daughter, Kasey Rose, in October 2011 injected joy and life into the Hances' household, but the crash still cast a dark shadow over it, Jackie Hance wrote.

The Hances started the Hance Family Foundation, in part to provide funding for educational programs that build the self-esteem of young girls. The book, published by Gallery Books, will help support the foundation, according to NBC.

With John Valenti

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