State Police investigators have reviewed security videotape of Diane Schuler acting normally at an upstate McDonald's about three to four hours before last month's deadly Taconic State Parkway collision, said two sources close to the probe.
The videotape has helped police track Schuler's behavior and develop a firmer timeline of events from the morning of July 26, when police say the West Babylon mother began consuming the equivalent of 10 drinks before driving the wrong way on the Taconic in Westchester.
The resulting crash killed Schuler, 36, her young daughter, three nieces and three Yonkers men. Her 5-year-old son, Bryan, survived.
Bryan, who was treated at Westchester Medical Center for two weeks, is now recovering at St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside, Queens, a St. Mary's spokeswoman said Tuesday. "He's here for rehabilitation and continued recovery," said the spokeswoman, Leslie Johnson.
A woman who identified herself as Bryan's aunt said Tuesday outside the boy's home that his father, Daniel Schuler, is at the boy's bedside. "Bryan is OK," the woman said.
Another aunt, Jay Schuler, said last week: "It's going to be a long road, but he will do well."
The McDonald's video confirmed police interviews with employees at the McDonald's in Liberty, about nine miles south of the Sullivan County campground where Schuler and her family had spent the weekend. The family left between 9 and 9:30 a.m., with husband Daniel Schuler going separately with camping equipment.
The video shows Schuler getting breakfast with the children and "acting normally," said one source. They left the restaurant between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and police believed Schuler began driving south on Route 17.
What happened after Schuler left McDonald's remains murky. Somewhere on Route 17, the winding upstate highway that leads to the Schulers' camper at Hunter Lake, witnesses told police a red Ford minivan with a female driver and children inside was driving erratically.
Later, motorists on the New York State Thruway, a road Schuler would likely have taken home, also saw an aggressive driver in a minivan with children. At the Thruway's Ramapo service area, a minivan fitting that description veered across a grassy divider.
Yet at 11:37 a.m. - about the time Schuler would have arrived at the Ramapo service area, assuming she didn't stop after leaving the McDonald's - she sounded fine in a phone call to her brother, Warren Hance, a private investigator has said.
About 81 minutes later, Schuler had driven 21 more miles to the Tappan Zee Bridge. She sounded disoriented in another call to Hance. By 1:35 p.m., she was driving south up northbound Taconic lanes.-Click here to see family photos of the Schulers, and the latest photos in the case