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Family of victims in Taconic crash say husband in denial

Margaret Nicotina and Roseanne Guzzo, daughters of Michael

Margaret Nicotina and Roseanne Guzzo, daughters of Michael Bastardi, speak out on the "Today Show" about comments Daniel Schuler made on Larry King. (Sept. 4, 2009) Photo Credit: NBC

The family of the father and son killed by wrong-way driver Diane Schuler said on Friday that her husband is in denial and it's time for him "to come clean" and tell investigators what happened the morning of the crash.

Attorney Irving Anolik said Daniel Schuler's dispute of a medical examiner's findings that his wife was drunk and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash is "totally outrageous" and "an insult to the American public."

Sisters Margaret Nicotina and Roseanne Guzzo, whose father, Michael Bastardi, and brother, Guy Bastardi, were killed when their sport utility vehicle was hit by Diane Schuler's minivan, were interviewed Friday morning on the "Today" show.

Also killed in the July 26 crash on the Taconic State Parkway was Daniel Longo, a friend traveling with the Bastardis, Diane Schuler, of West Babylon, and her daughter and three nieces. Only her 5-year-old son Bryan survived the crash.

Police investigators and the Westchester County medical examiner said Schuler had unmetabolized alcohol in her stomach and had smoked marijuana within an hour of the crash.

She had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 - more than twice the legal limit, authorities said.

Daniel Schuler and his attorney, Dominic Barbara of Garden City, have challenged the autopsy results and deny Diane Schuler was drunk or high, insisting instead she suffered from an undiagnosed medical condition.

Nicotina said Friday she is offended by those denials.

"It makes me angry," she said on "Today." "It makes me angry that he keeps denying it . . . I wish he would just admit [she was drunk]."

Barbara was in court Friday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Nicotina said that Daniel Schuler knows what really happened the morning of the crash - before his wife left an upstate campground for the drive back to Long Island - and she wants him to tell that to investigators.

Schuler has said nothing unusual happened before his wife left the campground.

"As far as closure," Nicotina said, "I don't know what's going to do that."

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