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Updates on the Taconic crash case

Five members of a Long Island family were

Five members of a Long Island family were thrown from this minivan, which police said was traveling the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway in Westchester. (July 26, 2009) Credit: The Journal News Photo


Investigators for Diane Schuler's family have chosen a Maryland laboratory to conduct new toxicology tests on fluids taken during her autopsy, though they declined to identify it. Her family believes there must be a medical explanation for the crash and disputes tests by the Westchester authorities showing Schuler had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit. A West- chester spokeswoman said the medical examiner's office has not received a request to transfer the samples to another lab.


Schuler's family has publicly called for disinterring her body to conduct a new autopsy, but the family's private investigator, Thomas Ruskin, said Wednesday no request has been made and it may not be necessary. He said the first step will be to test fluid samples used by Westchester against DNA obtained from Schuler's toothbrush, to make sure authorities used samples from the right person. "If it wasn't her samples they tested, then you wouldn't have to exhume the body," Ruskin said. Experts say it's highly likely that Westchester originally tested the correct samples. Even then, Ruskin said the disinterment would wait until after the fluids are retested.


E-ZPass records show it took Schuler 49 minutes to drive south from the New York State Thruway toll plaza at Exit 16 to the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, where she talked to her brother and said she wasn't feeling well, Ruskin said. It should have taken about 30 minutes to make the 30-mile drive from Exit 16 to the Tappan Zee, Ruskin said, which he said supports his theory that she was in pain and driving slowly or stopping often. WNYW-TV news first reported on the E-ZPass records Tuesday night.