Times pretends to have revealing information on Diane Schuler …
… but has nothing. Its headline,
Police Delve Into Mind-Set of Drunken Woman Whose Crash Killed Eight
makes it sound as though the police have figured out something about Mrs. Schuler’s mindset or private life that would explain her insane and homicidal behavior that caused the deaths of eight people. In reality, there is zero information in the article about her mindset, zero information about substance abuse. Everyone who knew her thought she was friendly and normal. No one who knew her, including a woman who had camped near the Schulers at their Catskills campsite (“At this campground if someone sneezes two campsites down from us, I say, ‘Bless you.’ It’s very quiet up here. You would hear something”), picked up signs of drinking, drugs, or marital quarrels. And nothing explains why this apparently competent, responsible woman would suddenly start gulping down large amounts of vodka and smoking marijuana while driving a car with five children.
And let’s also make this clear. While Schuler’s state of advanced drunkenness explains a lot (her blood alcohol percentage of .19 percent is more than double the legal limit in New York State, and half the amount that normally causes death from alcohol poisoning), it does not explain her actual behavior after she got off the phone with her brother Warren Hance: getting back in the minivan with her children and nieces and continuing to drive despite her disorientation and difficulty seeing, driving ten miles north (away from her destination) to the Taconic State Parkway, entering the highway on the exit ramp, crossing three lanes against oncoming traffic, and driving the wrong way for 1.7 miles while other cars were swerving madly around her and honking at her until she crashed head-on into another vehicle. There have been thousands of drunken drivers over the years causing terrible accidents. No one has ever heard of a drunken driver—or a driver high on pot, or any driver—doing anything like what Diane Schuler did. The event remains a mystery.
A further question. Police say that Schuler had the equivalent of ten 80-proof shots in her system at the time of death, and that her blood alcohol content was .19 percent. In New York State the legal limit for driving is .08 percent. But if .19 percent blood alcohol content equals ten shots, then .08 percent alcohol content would equal 4.2 shots. Which would mean that a person could have many as four shots in his system and still be under the legal limit. Which seems impossible. Four shots would make a person quite high.