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'Oprah' to feature wrong-way Taconic crash case

Diane and Daniel Schuler with their children Bryan,

Diane and Daniel Schuler with their children Bryan, 5, and Erin, 2. Bryan was the only survivor in a horrific car crash on Sunday, July 26, 2009. (Undated file photo) Credit: Floral Park Police Department

A representative of the West Babylon mom who drove the wrong way down a Westchester parkway, as well as one of the families of the Yonkers men who died in the accident, will appear on Oprah Winfrey's show, her production company said Friday.

The hourlong show, to air 4 p.m. Tuesday on WABC / 7 in the metropolitan area, will feature the case of Diane Schuler and "stories of drunk moms and other women that have struggled with alcoholism," a spokeswoman for the Harpo production company said.

>> Click here to see photos from the Taconic Parkway tragedy

Among other cases to be featured in the segment is that of another drunken-mom crash - an Oct. 11 accident on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan that killed an 11-year-old and injured six of her friends, the company said.

Eight people died in the Taconic crash July 26 - Schuler, her daughter, her nieces and three men traveling in a sport utility vehicle - when Schuler's vehicle barreled the wrong way down Westchester's Taconic State Parkway for 1.7 miles. It hit the SUV before rolling down an embankment and bursting into flames.

A toxicology report showed Schuler had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 percent as well as marijuana in her system at the time of the crash.

In Tuesday's show, Winfrey interviews the Schuler family investigator, Thomas Ruskin, and the toxicologist who performed the tests on Schuler's remains, Elizabeth Spratt. The family is challenging the Westchester medical examiner's findings that Schuler was drunk and high at the time.

"They wanted to know what Danny's [Diane Schuler's husband] feelings were relative to the accident, relative to where we're going, why he's going there [challenging the toxicology report], where the investigation stands and what we've done to date," said Ruskin, of CMP Protective and Investigative Group Inc.

Also appearing, though not physically with Ruskin, are Mike Bastardi and his wife, Jeannie, family of two of the men killed in the SUV. The Bastardis say the Schuler family's repeated denials about her intoxication have caused their family more grief.

>> Click here to see photos from the Taconic Parkway tragedy


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