What Happened to Aunt Diane? The Real Story of There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

Uncover the details surrounding Diane Schuler's fatal decision to drive under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, leading to a devastating head-on collision that claimed eight lives.

by Aishwarya R

Updated Feb 12, 2024

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What Happened to Aunt Diane? The Real Story of There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
Fresherslive

Who was Aunt Diane?

Aunt Diane, whose full name was Diane Schuler, gained notoriety due to her involvement in the tragic events of the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash. She was a mother of two and was driving her minivan with her daughter, five-year-old son Bryan, and three nieces on the ill-fated day in July.

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The crash occurred when Schuler, under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, drove nearly two miles in the wrong direction, resulting in a head-on collision with an SUV. The devastating accident claimed the lives of eight people, including Schuler herself and three men from the Bastardi family in the SUV. The circumstances surrounding Aunt Diane's actions and the subsequent debate over the causes of the crash have made her a central figure in a highly controversial and tragic case.

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What Happened to Aunt Diane?

Diane Schuler's tragic involvement in the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash resulted in the deaths of eight people, including herself and several children. Driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, she traveled nearly two miles in the wrong direction, colliding head-on with an SUV.

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The crash claimed the lives of three men from the Bastardi family and several of Schuler's family members, leaving only her son Bryan as the sole survivor. The incident sparked controversy and debate, with some questioning the true cause of the crash, while others blamed Schuler's impaired state for the devastating accident.

Despite initial claims by Schuler's family that medical conditions such as a tooth abscess, leg lump, or diabetes could have contributed to the crash, the autopsy report revealed otherwise. The report ruled out these medical issues, emphasizing that Schuler had a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit at the time.

Toxicology reports confirmed both alcohol and marijuana in her system. The controversy surrounding the case intensified as conflicting narratives emerged, with Schuler's family denying substance abuse allegations and insisting on alternative explanations for the tragic events.

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The HBO documentary, "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane," delves into the complexities of the case, further fueling public interest in the circumstances surrounding the Taconic State Parkway crash. The revelation of Schuler's impaired state, along with evidence from toxicology reports and 911 calls reporting erratic driving, paints a grim picture of the events leading to the fatal collision.

Despite ongoing debates and attempts to question the autopsy findings, the facts remain: Diane Schuler's intoxicated state played a significant role in the heartbreaking loss of multiple lives on that fateful day in July 2009.

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There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane is a documentary television film directed by Liz Garbus that premiered on HBO on July 25, 2011. The film explores the tragic events surrounding the 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash, which claimed the lives of eight people, including Diane Schuler, the central figure referred to as "Aunt Diane." The documentary delves into the complexities of the case, aiming to shed light on the circumstances leading up to the devastating collision.

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Liz Garbus takes viewers on a gripping journey, presenting various perspectives and narratives to uncover the truth behind the Taconic State Parkway crash. The film captures the controversy and debate surrounding the incident, with some questioning the initial explanations provided by Schuler's family about potential medical conditions. Through interviews, archival footage, and in-depth analysis, "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane" aims to unravel the mystery of what transpired on that fateful day and explore the impact it had on the families affected by the tragedy.

By documenting the aftermath and examining the different facets of Aunt Diane's life and the events leading up to the crash, the documentary serves as a poignant exploration of the complexities surrounding the case. "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane" contributes to the ongoing conversation and public understanding of a tragic incident that left a lasting impact on those involved and the broader community.

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane Premise

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane explores the premise of the fatal 2009 Taconic State Parkway crash by profiling Diane Schuler, the central figure in the tragedy. The documentary, directed by Liz Garbus, employs interviews with Schuler's family members and friends to piece together the events leading up to the devastating car accident. The primary focus is on Schuler's husband, Daniel, and sister-in-law, Jay, who play a significant role in unraveling the mystery surrounding the incident.

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The premise revolves around the attempt to understand Diane Schuler's actions on the day of the accident and to determine the factors that led to the tragic crash. Through interviews with key individuals close to Schuler, including her husband and sister-in-law, the documentary challenges the findings of the toxicology report.

Daniel and Jay express skepticism regarding the reported high levels of alcohol and THC intoxication in Schuler's system, suggesting inaccuracies or proposing the possibility that Schuler may not have knowingly consumed these substances.

As the documentary unfolds, it engages in a nuanced exploration of conflicting narratives, seeking to reconcile the family's perspective with the established facts from the toxicology report. "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane" becomes a platform for questioning the accuracy of the official findings, adding layers of complexity to the understanding of the tragedy and generating discussions about accountability, perception, and the aftermath of a catastrophic event that claimed multiple lives.

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There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane Overview

Film

There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane

Genre

Television Documentary

Directed by

Liz Garbus

Music by

Jonathan Zalben

Country of Origin

United States

Original Language

English

Producers

Julie Gaither, Liz Garbus

Cinematography

Michael Tucker

Editors

M. Watanabe Milmore, Charles Olivier

Release

July 25, 2011

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What Happened to Aunt Diane - FAQs

1. What happened to Aunt Diane in the Taconic State Parkway crash?

Aunt Diane, whose real name was Diane Schuler, caused a fatal car accident on the Taconic State Parkway in 2009. She was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, resulting in a head-on collision that claimed eight lives, including her own and several family members.

2. Were there any medical conditions that contributed to the crash?

The autopsy report ruled out significant medical conditions, such as a tooth abscess, leg lump, or diabetes, which had initially been suggested by Schuler's family as potential causes. The primary factors identified were Schuler's high blood alcohol level and THC intoxication.

3. What does the documentary "There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane" explore?

The documentary delves into the complexities of the case, featuring interviews with Schuler's family and friends. It seeks to understand her actions on the day of the accident and explores conflicting narratives, particularly regarding the reported levels of intoxication, as presented by her husband and sister-in-law.

4. Was Aunt Diane aware of her level of intoxication during the drive?

The documentary presents differing perspectives on whether Diane Schuler knowingly consumed alcohol and marijuana. Her husband, Daniel, and sister-in-law, Jay, express skepticism about the toxicology report, suggesting that Schuler may not have been aware of the substances in her system.

5. How did the Taconic State Parkway crash impact the families involved?  

The crash had a profound and tragic impact, resulting in the loss of multiple lives, including children and adults. Families were left devastated, and the incident sparked controversy and debate, with some questioning the official findings and others acknowledging the role of Schuler's impaired state in the unfortunate events.

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