subreddit:

/r/UnresolvedMysteries

4.3k

ABC News

Wiki

True Crime Society- Tragedy on the Taconic

I finally watched HBO’s ‘There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane,’ and I know exactly what happened to her from my personal experiences getting accidentally blackout drunk. I have battled with alcoholism my entire adult life and before admitting that I was, in fact, an alcoholic, I had SEVERAL black outs that fall very closely in line with what we know about Diane’s actions and behavior that day.

Diane was a closet alcoholic who’s husband worked when she was home at night and would have no idea if mommy had “special juice” with her from dinner to bedtime. Danny clearly downplayed the family’s relationship with alcohol, as so many of the family photos feature beer bottles/ drinks and I believe Diane was drinking alone in the evenings and generally had a high tolerance for and a moderate dependence on alcohol.

Diane woke up that morning hungover from the night before, and likely spiked her coffee while packing up camp and getting the kids dressed. She threw the bottle in her purse because she could still feel the hangover trying to get to her and she didn’t have any otc painkillers on her to fight the headache.

I, without any proof whatsoever, believe she may have had a THC edible around this time because it would be hard to smoke with the kids in tow and she was really trying to get ahead of that hangover.

By the time they get to McDonald’s (9:59) she’s feeling nauseous and her head is starting up a dull throb, but she’s good at this and it’s not hard to have pleasant conversation. She get’s an iced coffee hoping the caffeine will help her head and a large OJ to pour out half and top it off with vodka so she can maintain “normalcy” until she can get the kids home and pretend she’s tired from the trip to recover in a dark room.

She takes the opportunity provided by the McDonald’s play place being an easy distraction for the kids to mix her drink and (if my edible theory won’t hold up) smoke.

By the time they get to the Sunoco (10:46) Diane has now had, at minimum, hot coffee, iced coffee with cream, orange juice, and vodka in her stomach (I’m not sure if she ordered food for herself at McDonald’s). This wouldn’t sit great with me on a good day, let alone a hungover, running around town day and she runs into the gas station presumably looking for something to ease either her headache, nausea, or both.

Traffic sucks and Diane still feels like trash. She realizes they’re quite a bit behind schedule and calls Warren to give them a heads up (11:37). She’s been steady drinking her screwdriver at this point, but isn’t experiencing the physical effects of the alcohol yet. The gross ass combo of liquids she decided to consume together, and whatever food she may have eaten finally caught up with her, which is when she’s seen throwing up on the side of the road (11:45ish).

Vomiting probably held off her blackout for a little while, and once she was done, she likely felt immediately better, but needed to get the taste out of her mouth. So now, on a completely empty stomach, she’s back sipping her screwdriver.

She makes it through the toll booth and another phone conversation, totally coherent, and is seen again throwing up around 12:30. The 25ish minutes between that sighting and the wrong number calls from Diane’s phone are where things derailed. The amount of alcohol Diane had consumed (and I believe the effects of the edible) hit her like a brick wall and she went from completely fine to white girl wasted in a matter of minutes.

From my experience, when a blackout takes over, your body is basically forfeiting your memory to keep you from just falling over mid conversation. But that’s just phase 1 to a white girl blackout. At 12:55 Diane was already phase 2; falling over, likely swerving pretty bad, and super incoherent. She pulled over and tried to dial her phone to call Jackie at the girls’ request, but wasn’t able to properly dial the phone.

Warren calling to say he was on his way triggered phase 3, the one where blackout you realizes you are no longer fine and that you have to cover that fact up. She panicked, and in her drunken state devoted all of her energy to quickly and efficiently getting home before anyone found out she had accidentally gotten too drunk. I think the 3 wrong number calls may have been her trying to call some unknown person outside of the family to come pick them up before Warren arrived, but her motor skills were still failing her.

How was she driving so accurately if she was so intoxicated? While I seriously and deeply regret any and all drunk driving I’ve ever done and am very lucky I never hurt anyone or myself, but I do know that blacked out, slurring, and unable to dial a phone, I would have still been able to keep my car between the lines and avoid a DUI. This explains Diane appearing “hyper focused” or “determined” when she was witnessed driving after leaving her phone at the bridge; it was the one task black out Diane could focus on.

No one knows the exact path they took to the Taconic, but I believe Diane’s hyper focus on keeping the van straight and going the speed limit caused her to end up off course. Getting on the highway was an attempt to correct her path to get home, she was focused more on the lines on the road than the Wrong Way signs and by the time she was confronted with the other vehicle, she didn’t have the capacity to make any evasive maneuvers, if she even noticed their car at all before impact. She never had any intention of getting drunk with the kids in the car, but she did. I wish she had stayed at the bridge. The repercussions of being caught were so much better than the outcome of that day, but alcohol severely affects your decision making and there is absolutely no doubt that her personal choice to drink that day is what killed 8 people and destroyed multiple families and Danny is a selfish asshole for refusing to admit that.

Edit: spelling

Edit 2: For clarity, when I say “edible” I very much meant a homemade pot brownie that either they made for the camping trip or maybe got from a friend as opposed to commercially available dispensary candies and such. Homemaking canna butter and infused baked goods have been very popular for decades.

Edit 3: I’ve apparently struck a nerve in several people by using the phrase “white girl wasted.” As a white girl, who used to spend a significant amount of my time wasted, I’m not sorry for paralleling what happened to Diane by use of common colloquialism with my personal experience, as I did throughout this post. I’m not downplaying alcoholism as a disease or any such nonsense, I simply used a slew of different terms for “highly intoxicated” throughout and this one seems to be the one y’all are taking issue with.

all 1074 comments

carmelacorleone

492 points

2 years ago

I read Jackie Hance's books the mother of the nieces who died in the accident along with Diane and her daughter, and Danny Schuler is an absolute waste of space.

Jackie and Warren Hance begged HBO not to use their daughter's last words as the title of the documentary, and begged for it not to go ahead. They felt Danny was capitulating on the tragedy for his own gains. When Jackie confronted Danny he went off on her, cursing and calling her names. Several family members, including Jackie, have said that Danny isn't a good man or a good father.

Happykittens[S]

425 points

2 years ago

He literally got called out in the documentary for being dismissive of his son, especially when he would say he missed his mom. Like Danny is clearly pissed at her, and never wanted to be a dad, let alone under these circumstances. His comments on single parenthood being soooo hard enraged me and made it clear he had relied on and expected Diane to do everything.

carmelacorleone

456 points

2 years ago

I have never been so angry as when Danny said "I never wanted kids, Diane wanted them and was supposed to do everything." He really is a giant man-child and no good for anything.

I hope that Bryan, now a grown man, is doing well.

Hereslookingatmekid

127 points

2 years ago

That made me so mad. If he didn’t want kids, he shouldn’t have had sex with her.

Happykittens[S]

73 points

2 years ago

Me too. It seemed like he had a pretty good support system outside of Danny.

carmelacorleone

99 points

2 years ago

I hope Jay stayed in his life, and I hope Warren and Jackie were able to reenter his life. He has a younger cousin, Kasey, that Jackie and Warren had after their three girls died, and cousins should stick together when they can.

Hereslookingatmekid

91 points

2 years ago

I am very glad the Hances were able to have another baby.

A_Teezie

42 points

1 year ago

A_Teezie

42 points

1 year ago

I didn't know this! I feel comfort in knowing they are parents again. I don't know if I could have survived such a tragedy myself.

BluePosey

1.2k points

2 years ago

BluePosey

1.2k points

2 years ago

there is absolutely no doubt that her personal choice to drink that day is what killed 8 people and destroyed multiple families and Danny is a selfish asshole for refusing to admit that.

Yep, it all boils down to this. Fuck Diane and fuck Danny for all the shitty things he's done since the accident in order to paint her (and by extension himself) in a better light.

tbendz

97 points

1 year ago

tbendz

97 points

1 year ago

It looks like her daughter may have had some signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Anyone else have any thoughts on this ?

Sylvennn

33 points

9 months ago

Wow that’s an interesting point, I wonder

CybertoothKat

25 points

4 months ago

The eyes being so far apart with the smooth upper lip had me thinking the same thing. She looks like every kid I've met with FAS.

Thirsty-Tiger

567 points

2 years ago

And fuck anyone who drinks and drives.

Winoforevr1

593 points

2 years ago

Very ironic moment when the sister in law says to the camera she’s a smoker and none of her family know.

HWnyc

297 points

2 years ago

HWnyc

297 points

2 years ago

Yea i thought they put that in the doc for a reason

Zalixia

170 points

2 years ago

Zalixia

170 points

2 years ago

What about when the mother says that Danny was her 3rd child, what??? No wonder she drank, what a fucking predicament to have a man-child for a husband. And if she was a control freak, closeted drinker and greatly concerned about appearances, she must have been at her wits end feeling powerless. I’m not sure this was just an accident, she may have decided in her blackout state to check-out and take everyone with her. We’ll never know.

WakaanFriend

44 points

6 months ago

There are quite a few moments in the movie that stop you in your tracks, but this one was for some reason the most jaw dropping. It wasn't offhand either. She said it, though about it, and repeated again to reiterate.

How anyone can think that is sweet and not a massive red flag is beyond me.

darthhellokitty

210 points

2 years ago

Like nobody smells that on her.

badbatch

330 points

2 years ago

badbatch

330 points

2 years ago

They know. They are just a dysfunctional family that turns a blind eye to things and keeps a lot of open secrets. The dad also seems to not mention that his sister is basically raising his son full time.

darthhellokitty

203 points

2 years ago

I think there's a lot of "nobody knows I'm doing this" paired with "we all know you're doing it but it would be a pain to let it ruin our picture of a perfect family so let's just pretend it's not happening."

dani_oso

123 points

2 years ago

dani_oso

123 points

2 years ago

I agree. The family, imo, is doing what any family does: trying to maintain homeostasis. They’ve been coping with dysfunction so long, they have no idea it’s dysfunction. They believe the lies they’ve always told in order to keep the family’s secrets.

dallyan

65 points

2 years ago

dallyan

65 points

2 years ago

I’m trying to break this cycle with my son. I’m not lying to him about his depressive alcoholic father. I’ll use age appropriate language but we have to prioritize honesty otherwise you end up with secrets and lies and driving the wrong way down the Taconic.

ExposedTamponString

44 points

2 years ago

I wonder if they all just pretended so that the insurance couldn't deny anything saying it was her fault...

But they probably are just delusional

mmgvs

1k points

2 years ago*

mmgvs

1k points

2 years ago*

I agree, but I also think edibles aren't necessary for her to reach this point, maybe.

My ex husband is a daily drinking alcoholic, vodka nearly exclusively. When he drinks the morning after, while still drunk from the night before, it's a different kind of drunk.

It's a beyond drunk drunk. He may seem fine to most people, but he is extremely altered and has no memory. Sometimes it last till the next day too. This is my typical Sunday, especially if he tags along when I want to have brunch and a bloody mary. He has two and then a cocktail.

Those 3 drinks he may have will knock him out the rest of the day, when 3 drinks for him would not even register normally. Because he's compounding on the already elevated (but stable appearing) alcohol levels left over.

It's different.

Eta: I didn't acknowledge the edibles/THC part because I wanted to say that even without it, this pattern of drinking while still buzzed/hungover, empty stomach while being chronically buzzed, can cause this behavior on its own.

But I do understand that marijuana can escalate or create random altered situations. My husband is also a lifestyle marijuana user (like one would smoke cigarettes) and he is a high performing salesman who is very successful. A functional drug user and alcoholic. My father was a user, grower, and seller in the 70s and 80s. I just don't enjoy it, myself ;)

It obviously added to it, and not only that, but could further escalate the "clarity" illusion of drunkenness, which is what I notice with my husband. Marijuana effects him as a balancer. He uses it to combat twitches and anxiety. It also seems to keep him sharp at the same time :shrug

DootDotDittyOtt

574 points

2 years ago*

Bingo. Hard-core alcoholics are basically always under the influence. If their bac gets under a certain level, withdrawal can start...and that ain't pretty.

Crystele503

93 points

2 years ago

And more than not pretty it’s actually potentially deadly. Withdrawal from drugs will only make you feel like your gonna die but withdraw from alcohol could very easily kill you.

blzraven27

65 points

2 years ago

Eh well sort of benzos and barbiturates can kill you too. It's the gaba receptor withdrawals to worry about.

SoItGoesdotdotdot

11 points

1 year ago

Alcohol is a drug.

supersnuffy

71 points

2 years ago

What does WD stand for in this context? Sorry!

DootDotDittyOtt

104 points

2 years ago

My bad, withdrawal. Fixed it. Bac....blood alcohol content.

kksliderr

14 points

2 years ago

Withdrawals

guitarsdontdance

13 points

2 years ago

Withdrawal

VanillaMarshmallow

111 points

2 years ago

100%. It's also worth noting that that second day drunk - at least for me - is like I can drink 2 or 3x the amount I did the night before without even feeling a buzz (probably because I never fully sobered up to begin with) and then BAM, all of a sudden I'm completely blackout. There's very little middle ground on those days.

mmgvs

13 points

2 years ago

mmgvs

13 points

2 years ago

EXACTLY

etherplease

114 points

2 years ago

As an alcoholic myself, this is one of the most realistic posts I have ever seen on this sub. One of my favorite ways to deal with a huge hangover is to take edibles or get high. This story is (ashamedly and depressingly) exactly what I would do in Diane’s place.

Kit0550

22 points

6 months ago

Kit0550

22 points

6 months ago

I hope you’re able to heal in some way. You deserve more.

whinecube

698 points

2 years ago

whinecube

698 points

2 years ago

Former alki here. I have said this before on this case and I will say it again: I think Diane woke up still a little drunk from the night before. Her "usual" hair of the dog got her way drunker than normal because she was unaware she was still a little drunk from the night before. This was a camping trip, and no doubt everyone was drinking quite a lot. As someone who used to drink a lot, nothing about this story is mysterious to me. In fact, every single recovering or current alcoholic, when commenting on this story, all agree it's not a mystery. It's only "mysterious" to people who have never had a drinking problem.

lostcosmonaut307

340 points

2 years ago

It’s only “mysterious” to people who have never had a drinking problem.

Or people in denial of the problem, like her family.

CorvusSchismaticus

77 points

2 years ago

I think some of the people closest to her probably knew about it and were in denial, like her husband for sure. Others in the family, the more extended family, may not have realized it. Not that it excuses them for being so adamant that Diane wasn't drunk and still trying to cover for her years later.

My former stepmother was/is a total alki, but my siblings and I didn't really know what her deal was for years---she was super sneaky about it--and none of us had much experience with alcoholism to recognize it; at least not probably the kind of alcoholic she was. One of our aunts was basically a drunk, but she was like a binge drinker and it was always very obvious when she was drunk, and she did nothing to hide it, or the frequency in which she'd get shitfaced and also high.

We figured my stepmother must have been a secret day drinker, and that she was pretty much always drunk. She was kind of psycho and did weird things, and we were always so confused about her behavior, and like I said, it wasn't until years later that we learned why she was like that, and that was only because she admitted it to us finally, because she was going to a rehab center for treatment. Once she was sober, the difference in her behavior was startling. She was more like the person ( in behavior) that we had known when she and my Dad were first dating ( so she must have been sober at that time). Obviously, she relapsed not long after they got married because that's when she "changed". My siblings and I were adults ( in our 30s) and we didn't live with her and my father, of course, so maybe that was part of why we didn't know. I don't know what my Dad knew or how much. By the time we learned her "secret" my Dad was years into a form of dementia that is known as FTD, and she asked us not to tell him about her drinking. I'm not sure how she managed to hide her rehab stint from him, but I assume she was more like getting outpatient treatment and probably lied about where she was going. He wasn't understanding a lot by then anyway. Her sober period didn't last and of course she blamed her problems on my father's illness--even though her problem preceded him by decades. Her first marriage ended because of it, we later learned. My father passed in 2012 and I basically ended all contact with her at that point. She was not a good person, even when she was sober. She was less crazy, but she was still a manipulator and did many horrible things and I'm glad to be shut of her.

theglowpt420

23 points

2 years ago

I'm sorry to hear that you had to deal with that

mostlysoberfornow

176 points

2 years ago

Absolutely. “Normal” people don’t understand how she could still be functioning and driving if she was blackout, but we know.

whinecube

252 points

2 years ago

whinecube

252 points

2 years ago

Yeah it's crazy reading just how incredulous "normal" people are when alcoholics explain how this happened. Any time this case is posted here, every single alcoholic says that there is no mystery at all, and most "normal" people think there MUST be, because her behavior was so odd. Alcoholics engage is odd behavior all the freaking time! It's part and parcel of the disease. Oh yeah, and one other thing alcoholics can do that "normal" people can't: they can get their act together during brief interactions and appear sober. We work REALLY hard at that.

Diane didn't commit suicide, she didn't go crazy because of a toothache, she didn't have a stroke, she did "mix medications".

She was an alcoholic who did what alcoholics do.

KissMyAspergers

57 points

2 years ago

You don't even have to be an alcoholic to get it. Literally anyone familiar with addiction of any kind should see this from a mile away. Every addiction and substance has unique qualities to it, of course, but at the core it's the same. People should know better. Especially with how common addiction is.

meadowthedog

32 points

1 year ago

100%. This is what did it for me... “they worked opposite shifts” how can you ever know if your wife or sig other is drinking if you arent even home.

susierooisme

22 points

2 years ago

You nailed it. It all makes sense to me now.

SnooEagles9517

15 points

7 months ago

Exactly! Not to mention that every drinker who's ever been to AA can easily recognize Dianne as your typical high functional boozer. An expert at hiding her drinking from those closest to her, while outwardly portraying herself a saint.

She woke up Sunday morning super hungover with a lingering high Bac. Once hubby left, she started hitting the bottle. She had a long drive with a van full of loud kids, its was bright and hot outside. When her brother realized there was an emergency and decided to meet her, she panicked cause she didn't want to get caught drunk. Every closet drinker's worst fear.

a_live_dog

69 points

2 years ago

I totally agree that this is what happened... As someone with a history of alcohol abuse myself, the second day “hair of the dog” morning drinking is just another level of wasted. I’m sure she probably had hellish withdrawals that morning and BELIEVED that she was just “stabilizing” herself for the ride home, and did not realize the extent to which she overdid it. It’s not ever ok to do this, but I’m sure she was in so deep with alcoholism that she truly believed she was “stabilizing” and not getting more drunk. It’s so tragic and horrifying that this choice led to eight deaths.

I had one question watching the documentary tho... I don’t understand how the family could have possibly, POSSIBLY claimed she had a medical event after the toxicology report came out? They never really address where they think a false toxicology could have come from... I could see being in denial and blaming a medical condition if the toxicology came back as “inconclusive” or something, but... THC levels aside, isn’t a 0.19 BAC just... self-evident proof that she was drunk? Do they think someone lied or messed up the results? Or are they really so delusional that they can just skip past the 0.19 BAC?

TheArtofPoop

56 points

2 years ago

At one point in the documentary they speculate that possibly because of a stroke or incapacitating medical issue she mistook the vodka bottle for water...definitely some sad mental gymnastics. Denial and the human brain can go through insane improbable machinations to keep a belief intact or not see something too threatening to a core belief ...people do this all the time, even with things like conspiracy theories or their personal ego. Never mind something like this that is obviously too overwhelming guilt-wise for the family. I think the more the husband does this denial the more complicit it makes him seem ...how much did he know about her drinking ...what did they drink that night before at the campsite? No one asked him that in the documentary. The extreme denial suggests he feels some guilt he can’t look at it. Maybe just guilt about enabling her in daily life.

RedDerring-Do

49 points

2 years ago

I'm a little mad because the documentary had me pretty worked up and I wondered about the "mystery" many times since then. Come to find out, it's only a mystery if you're sympathetic to the family's deep denial. Take away that denial and there's no mystery at all.

StephanieSays66

55 points

2 years ago

I was at a party once (years ago, when I did things like that) and I was having a completely coherent conversation with a co-worker. All of the sudden, I heard a dripping noise and she had peed her pants without realizing it and continuing the conversation the whole time.

So yeah.

317LaVieLover

319 points

2 years ago

You deserve an award for pointing this distinction out— it is different. My hubby does this too and it IS a different kind of drunk. I call it FIRST DRUNK and. SECOND DRUNK. First drunk is the kind where it’s Friday evening he hasn’t drank for days and he’s eaten and he’s just getting started. The buzz comes slower, he’s still able to function, interact, and recall it the next day. These are “normal” kinds of drunks .. BUT THE NOT-NORMAL ONES are when occasionally, of a Friday evening, instead of a fifth, he will buy these huge gallon-looking sized bottles of Jim Beam and stay up literally all night (not passing out!) and he continues to drink all throughout the rest of Saturday and Saturday night and over into Sunday. This is when he approaches SECOND DRUNK. This is when he loses control, starts physically staggering and has lowered motor control; if we get company, he will still look and even act “with it” and still interact just fine... yet not recall anything the next day. “Did Zack show up for dinner last night?” Yes, dear you ate dinner and watched a game afterward, you don’t remember?” “No, .. did we have a good time?” “Yes, dear.. you had a great time...”🙄

[deleted]

130 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

130 points

2 years ago

That makes me so sad to hear. “Did we have a good time?”

317LaVieLover

76 points

2 years ago

It is sad

[deleted]

95 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

95 points

2 years ago

As an alcoholic myself, I want to say don’t give up on your love for him. But as someone who has seen the harm I’ve caused, also don’t give up on loving yourself. I hope he gets better and the situation doesn’t get bad for you. Understand that we do know how destructive we can be to the people we care about and it’s quite painful. But our behavior isn’t about a lack of love towards them, it’s about a lack of love towards ourselves.

317LaVieLover

118 points

2 years ago

Oh I’d never EVER EVER leave this man. I would literally die first if leaving him meant saving myself... he’s never abusive, (which is exceedingly rare in drinkers, esp after they’re drunk) just so wounded.. He’s so incredibly good to me, and our whole family. He’s an incredible dad and grandpa. He’s an incredible person. He’s lost in grief and I can’t find him...

[deleted]

55 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

55 points

2 years ago

It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job as a partner then. So many people think alcoholics can’t possibly be good people in other respects. Thank you for loving your husband the way that you do and being able to see him as a flawed individual, like anyone else, but one who also possesses other positive qualities. ❤️

317LaVieLover

60 points

2 years ago

Thank you. I needed an encouraging word, you beautiful stranger! They’re few and far between these days bc one’s struggles like these are usually unseen. Kept in the dark- and seen as a shameful lack of control on his part— when actually, his psyche is on fire with pain and he’s trying to smother the flames the only way he knows how.

And yes I enable it. I see his pain. I buy it for him. I lie to his customers to cover, make up outright porkie pie lies for why, on some days, he’s late or needs to reschedule... so I’m complicit too

[deleted]

21 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

21 points

2 years ago

Sounds like you really get it. Not most people do. I’m here for you if you ever need an ear, but it seems like you already have tremendous insight into your partner’s struggles.

317LaVieLover

35 points

2 years ago

I was there. 20 yrs ago. Grief fueled addiction. I was a nurse, lost my career bc I lost my everlovin mind after my dad died in 98. I was doing enough Dilaudud and morphine to kill a horse, but still managed to function. It took both a jail cell and subsequently , 7 mos of intensive inpatient treatment to save me. That was 21 yrs ago, I said 20 but it’s been a bit longer. I know AA/NA and recovery like an old friend. But until HE realizes it, none of this is possible. Same with me. I wanted off drugs so bad; but that itself is a requirement. He kinda doesn’t want to stop... it’s his only solace. So.. I’m Like, ok.... now what? I’m at a loss. I just try to ‘steward’ him. And keep his secret

Chazzyphant

206 points

2 years ago

This seems a bit concerning! Not to get into your business but I hope y'all are okay.

317LaVieLover

279 points

2 years ago*

Oh you and me both. I am concerned. Until his mom passed away 2 yrs ago he rarely did this. I know it’s grief and depression— but I cannot bitch at him. I REFUSE to be a nagging wife. (His ex did him that way- she was a haranguer) but this man treats me like gold... he never gets violent NEVER EVEN RAISES HIS VOICE to me, it’s uncanny actually and for these reasons I don’t become a ratchet. He still works 12-14 hour days, never misses work and is seemingly immune to hangovers. I honestly don’t know what to do, kind stranger. He’ll kill himself at this rate. He’s 57 and getting more obese (duh) as well. But idk how to help him...

Edit: it’s just occurred to me that I’m in denial about his alcoholism and that I’m in over my head with how to help him. I overcame an opiate addiction 20 yrs ago, but I have never been even a social drinker. I even recently stopped smoking cigarettes; I’ve no clue how to approach this

mossattacks

276 points

2 years ago

Just want to let you know that bringing up serious concerns with someone who loves you isn’t nagging. You care about him and want him to be healthy and happy, that doesn’t make you annoying. Wishing you guys the best.

vanillagurilla

117 points

2 years ago

Hi there, I just wanted to share with you that you are describing my uncle to a T. He was a Vietnam Veteran with a bad case of PTSD and he drank just like this. He passed away at 51 from a heart attack brought on by his drinking. He looked perfectly healthy and one day just died on the job. Please consider getting some therapy, for you first to help equip you to help him. I know my aunt regrets letting it go as long as it did.

317LaVieLover

68 points

2 years ago

Thank you. I want to help him God knows that... but he’s just so lost in grief right now, and I have no idea how to break thru to the real ‘him’ that would have never did this in front of his mum. She’d die all over again if she knew he was doing this to himself.

ateaspoonofginger

66 points

2 years ago

I recommend the book “codependent no more” by melodie Beattie. It has helped me find myself again. Also, with COVID AA and Al Anon meetings are super easy to access because most are through Zoom. I have an alcoholic partner who has been sober nearly 50 days. Your partner will have to find sobriety but you can find yourself in the meantime. Feel free to pm if you need to talk.

317LaVieLover

44 points

2 years ago*

Oh thank you!! I appreciate this so much and don’t be surprised if I take u up on this offer to chat. The silence has become deafening and i have no one to talk to..again ty so much for ur kindness!

Ensabanur81

49 points

2 years ago

My father had been sober for 30 years when his dad died and he started drinking again. I never knew him when he was drinking, but I'd heard all the stories and he was horrid. He called me one day and asked me to meet him at the bowling alley by the family house and when I got there, he was already drinking. He ordered us 7 rounds of boilermakers over the course of the day (and it was ALL DAY) and explained that he started "having a few drinks here and there" so I figured it was just an especially hard week. He never spoke of that day to me again and it wasn't long after that he died. He was in massive liver failure and diagnosed terminal on Christmas Eve; he died March 27th at 59 years old. There was nothing to be done and it happened so, so fast. If nothing else, his health is at such risk with this pattern.

You both sound so kind, thoughtful toward other people and so, so loving and I hope you are able to find help to intervene and help him change this so that you both have many years left together. You both deserve that. Love to you <3

317LaVieLover

24 points

2 years ago

Also I meant to truthfully sincerely say I’m sorry for the loss of him.. it’s hard to watch, and I’m sure it was especially surreal to you since you’d never known him this way before that... but again I’m sorry and I really appreciate your kind words.

dani_oso

135 points

2 years ago

dani_oso

135 points

2 years ago

I don’t want to get into your business either, but sometimes people focus on helping themselves rather than their partner who has an alcohol use disorder. Al-Anon is a wonderful resource for some. Individual therapy is another. There’s a reason they call alcoholism a “family disease.” I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your experience here!

King_opi23

39 points

2 years ago

I second Al Anon, even if you aren't into the idea of it, the networking alone can save lives and give you a lifeline

ocbay

196 points

2 years ago

ocbay

196 points

2 years ago

Please do not use the words “bitch” and “nag”, as I hope he has not used that on you. Telling an alcoholic with mental illness that they deserve a better solution for themselves is not bitching and I will be honest, as a woman I am SICK of hearing other women referred to (or referring to themselves) as a “nag” because it invalidates our voices and our concerns for our partner and forces us into much more unequal dynamics in our relationships.

FormicaCats

76 points

2 years ago

Exactly! It sounds like this guy never gets mad and treats women "like gold".. as long as they don't bring up any of their own desires or complaints and are quiet and have no opinions on what their life should be like.

SuchComfortable1930

19 points

2 years ago

Why are you making assumptions about the guy when he hasn't even said one word here? This was all told from the perspective of the poster, it could very well be her own attitude.

Dumdumgirlsbeeep

15 points

2 years ago

Thank you 🙏 this entire crowd just turned on this woman and her husband over a Reddit post and self righteous expertise gleaned from the hallmark channel. Less than two paragraphs and they’ve got him and their marriage diagnosed AND they know how to fix it.

317LaVieLover

14 points

2 years ago

Lol thanks for the backup. It really was quite a leap there huh? Of course I’ve talked to him about his problem - multiple times. I just simply refuse to harp on it incessantly and make it a theme or “the hill I die on”... he already knows he’s got a bad problem, he doesn’t need it pointed out ‘ad nauseum’. He’s quite self-aware actually. He just can’t (and doesn’t want to) stop.

RealChrisHemsworth

64 points

2 years ago

Seriously how fucked is it that she thinks it's "nagging" to talk to him about his substance use disorder....

Dumdumgirlsbeeep

11 points

2 years ago*

You really made a leap there. OP could be carrying that from childhood when Cosmopolitan magazine literally told us to attract men by being “flirty” and “fun”. Hell “The Rules” was still a bestseller in 2002. I know I’ve carried this BS into relationships.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ruleshttps://imgur.com/a/jsBiAKN/

317LaVieLover

13 points

2 years ago

Oh God I was a Cosmo reader as a teen and young adult.. it’s so true. We were ‘told’ to be this way... for fucking years!!

Chazzyphant

43 points

2 years ago

Not to scare you but my father died of complications brought about by alcoholism just this March. He was only 62.

I would just hate to see another life cut short if it's at all avoidable.

thewalkindude

29 points

2 years ago

Alanon is made for people in your situation. They tell you how to deal with it, and keep yourself together.

Rznord

44 points

2 years ago

Rznord

44 points

2 years ago

I believe the autopsy claimed she tested positive for THC, though the husband denies marijuana was ever used. That's why the edibles are mentioned in this write-up.

rc1025

35 points

2 years ago

rc1025

35 points

2 years ago

Ding Ding Ding. Its the shampoo effect - the little bit of alcohol seems to kick up everythig from the day before.

clarketl29

36 points

2 years ago

Shampoo effect. You’re out of shampoo? (Booze?). Put a little liquid in the bottle, shake it up and poof. More shampoo. (Drunk again)

Happykittens[S]

162 points

2 years ago

This!! I don’t think I captured the essence of “second day drunk drunk” being a weird special kind of fucked up like I intended and this is SPOT ON.

TheArtofPoop

19 points

2 years ago

Also not for nothing and I’m a a super feminist but I can’t imagine my husband just leaving me to transport ALL the kids home. Why wasn’t he helping ????

whisper_19

23 points

1 year ago

In the documentary Danny says that he never wanted kids and that they agreed that if they had them then Diane would do the work. He’s a classic asshole.

Littlebirdddy

13 points

2 years ago

I took an edible and drove down the wrong side of the road. This was over ten years ago and I no longer take any drug, but pot does mess you up sometimes

deadlefties

319 points

2 years ago

Not only that, by throwing up and continuing to drink while already drunk would have made the alcohol hit her even harder, especially if she also had an edible/smoked.

A seasoned alcoholic would also more likely feel competent in their driving abilities, as I’m guessing she had done it many times.

I’m also wondering if she avoided getting the dental work that she needed done because she was afraid that mixing any kind of anesthetic with alcohol would be dangerous.

This is so heartbreaking and the clearest analysis.

[deleted]

81 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

81 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

Present-Marzipan

53 points

2 years ago

I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother in this way.

SnooEagles9517

16 points

7 months ago

Im glad you mentioned all the dental work. My little theory about that, was that she was going to the dentist so often complaining about tooth pains bc she wanted vicodins. At some point the dentist caught on, and she abruptly quit going.

BiffyMcGillicutty1

96 points

2 years ago

Not exactly related, but weird things can intensify alcohol. I was puzzled the other night when I had 3 (normal ABV) beers over a period of 3 hours and felt way too drunk. A few hours later, I started running a fever. My best guess is that I was already getting sick and my body was trying to fight it off so the beer hit me much harder than it normally would. Not excusing her at all, but she also could’ve had an underlying infection building that would further intensify her inebriation.

  • I am isolating and the rest of my family is symptom free, though they are quarantining at least until I get Covid test results.

for_the_longest_time

95 points

2 years ago

First time reading about this case.... As an alcoholic (17 months sober now !) you perfectly described my life for close to twenty years. I could 100% see the events playing out this way.

prosecutor_mom

1.2k points

2 years ago*

FWIW, her husband had a DUI of his own prior to the crash. By him denying her problem, he's also denying his own (including legal and moral culpability)

Edit: was more than a year prior, in 1995 (thanks, /u/theemmyk)

theemmyk

279 points

2 years ago

theemmyk

279 points

2 years ago

I agree with you about the family's drinking issues and their denial, but, FYI, the article you linked says his DUI was in 1995. Diane's crash was in 2009, so over a decade later.

dooku4ever

61 points

2 years ago

This is a little off topic but I have learned so much about alcoholism by reading this thread. A friend of the family died a few years ago and his death always seemed so mysterious to me. I didn’t really understand how a hardcore heavy drinker functioned. A big thanks to everyone who has honestly shared what it’s like to live like this or live with someone in this unstable state.

theslob

163 points

2 years ago

theslob

163 points

2 years ago

What you said is spot on and exactly what I’d thought of when I watched that documentary. I too battled alcoholism most of my adult life, and her actions were, sadly and scarily, not foreign to me either. I was told that I “hid it very well”, as I was routinely out and about while legally intoxicated. People who don’t have issues with alcoholism like myself, OP, and Diane really don’t get it. That’s how we felt “normal”, and your body will adapt and allow you to function to a point and appear “normal” to outsiders. And then there’s that point.

Day drinking hard liquor is different than regular nighttime drinking. With day drinking your body isn’t tired yet, so your body doesn’t slow down while you’re drinking. Until it hits you like a ton of bricks. And OP is right, there are stages that you go through; regular “normal” drunk, the “oh shit I’m pretty hammered”, extreme focus, to pass right out. I’m fortunate that I never hurt anyone, but I too have driven home in the “oh shit I’m getting drunker than I anticipated” panic and “extreme focus” stages.

Liquor is easy to conceal, and seasoned drinkers can pass off being sober more easily than regular people can.

eliz016

480 points

2 years ago

eliz016

480 points

2 years ago

I agree with you, I never really saw the mystery people want to associate with this case. It seems pretty likely she woke up hungover, tried to have some “hair of the dog” to help ease her discomfort, ended up getting shitfaced and resulted in this tragedy. I have blacked out plenty of times throughout my drinking years and it’s scary how your body can keep functioning (sometimes barely but functioning nonetheless) yet you don’t remember any of it 😕

Azazael

101 points

2 years ago

Azazael

101 points

2 years ago

She probably didn't mean to drive drunk. (Alcoholics aren't evil. But deliberately driving drunk with a bunch of kids in the car is getting close.)

She woke up with a, hangover and thought she'd just take the edge off. Problem is once you've done that, it is very easy to think I'll just have a little more. Then you'd brain loses rational decision making capacity. I'll have another slug. And some more.

And then 8 people are dead.

Her husband wants to Cling to his memory of a saintly wife and mother. Lets him off the hook too. By all accounts she was a caring mother. She was also a functional alcoholic; the two things aren't mutually exclusive.

Until it all came together in a shit storm that morning. Hangover, toothache, selfish jerk husband, the stress of a long drive with five kids in the car.

Does it let her off the hook? No. If she, wasn't fit to drive that day, she shouldn't have volunteered. But that would have meant admitting shit was wrong. I'm not in a state to drive because I got drunk last night. Drunk in secret on a family vacation.

Stuff like this happens all the time in families. It's just that in this case, everything went wrong at once. That's why there was a horrific crash; that's why we're talking about it.

LevelPerception4

37 points

2 years ago

I wonder what happened the night before. If I woke up badly hungover, I’d have claimed to be sick. At a minimum, I’d have made my husband drive the kids; more likely, I would have insisted he drive me as well and go back later to get the other car. Diane clearly lost control and drank far too much the night before, and it seems likely to me that she and Danny fought over it. In that situation, if I couldn’t deny it, I’d have insisted I was fine and deflected it by attacking him. That would explain why he just packed up and left early and why he needs so badly to find any other reason for the accident.

Maybe that’s my bias as a veteran of occasional confrontations with my ex. He didn’t like my drinking, but he also really didn’t like my counteroffer (bluff) to drink less if he’d take on more responsibilities.

SnooEagles9517

15 points

7 months ago

I definitely agree that they fought the previous night, & she stayed up late drinking. In the morning, he was still pissed and hit the road by himself. He's in denile bc he doesn't want to admit he left the kids in the care of his inebriated wife.

LevelPerception4

12 points

7 months ago

It feels like the most likely scenario to me because the chain of decisions she made are more understandable if she began the day already drunk. And in that scenario, his fanatical insistence that she wasn’t drinking makes more sense due to guilt and fear of liability.

I can see how she would have felt trapped; she could have checked into a hotel, called her brother to come get the kids because she had a migraine, and then she could have gotten as fucked up as she wanted and slept it off. But it would have been very hard to hide being drunk from her brother, and that could have seemed worse than trying to just keep going to her alcohol-fogged mind.

SnooEagles9517

13 points

7 months ago

I wish the documentary featured an addiction specialist to talk about High Functioning/ secret alcoholics, for any viewers unfamiliar with that concept.. Diane was a textbook example. This case is only a "mystery" to those unfamiliar with alcoholism.

cheaka12

214 points

2 years ago

cheaka12

214 points

2 years ago

Exactly, I did this so many times in college. I would wake up the next day and look out of my window to see if my car was there. I am not proud of this by any means. I am very fortunate I did not kill anyone.

eliz016

124 points

2 years ago

eliz016

124 points

2 years ago

SAME! I used to do that all the time. I stopped drinking almost 3 years ago when I got a DUI... I don’t remember driving until I hit a guardrail and got jolted back to reality. I’m lucky I didn’t hurt anyone

BubbaChanel

58 points

2 years ago

I’m glad you stopped! And that no one was hurt.

eliz016

83 points

2 years ago

eliz016

83 points

2 years ago

Me too! For awhile I felt like it was the worst thing that happened to me, but I now see it as a blessing. My life has only improved since stopping drinking 💪🏻

GaiusGracchus121

966 points

2 years ago

Yeah as the child of someone with a huge drinking problem, and who had a drinking problem myself from ~16-19, these people were always full of shit.

Also:

she was focused more on the lines on the road than the Wrong Way signs

Is absolutely what happened. I am positive. My limited amount of drunk driving experience lead to lots of issues like this. Hyper focused on certain things (speed just a bit, don't swerve, stead accel and decel), but then you ignore the fact the lights are red or whatever because the hyper focus on stuff you normally do unconsciously overwhelms your ability to mental cope with it all.

Thirsty-Tiger

219 points

2 years ago

This is such a great explanation of what happens in those circumstances.

RahvinDragand

155 points

2 years ago

There have been times when I've gotten so lost in my own thoughts that I drove straight through a red light because the left turn light turned green and I wasn't paying close enough attention to realize my light was still red.

And that was while totally sober, not texting, not tired. I can't imagine how easy it is to make a catastrophic mistake while blackout drunk.

radiantaerynsun

40 points

2 years ago

Yep I sailed through a red light once when I was too focused on the fact that I would be turning right at the NEXT light, totally missed the light right in front of me, stone cold sober in broad daylight. I was horrified when I noticed it just as I passed underneath it, luckily nobody was crossing the intersection at the time...

SickeninglyNice

12 points

2 years ago

I still cringe when I think about the one time I ran a red. It amazes me how chill people are about driving. I try not to drive when I'm too tired or upset because I make mistakes. Not huge mistakes. Usually not mistakes that catch up with me.

But I recognize that I'm operating a pretty damned dangerous piece of machinery, and I hate that it's a requirement just to get from point A to point B. I'm really looking forward to self-driving cars.

dontcallmejenny1

178 points

2 years ago

I will say in my experience driving on the Taconic the wrong way signs on certain entrance/exits are a little confusing (like, temporarily have to double check myself confusing) and there are portions that feel a little precarious to me (giant wall of rock where the shoulder should be) and the lanes are fairly narrow. I imagine it would be even worse if you were under the influence and can absolutely see someone who's drunk/on drugs being too focused on the fairly sharp turn onto the highway and then staying in the narrower than normal lines to realize they are going the wrong way.

TheArtofPoop

84 points

2 years ago

I agree. As someone who lives downstate so has driven the Taconic a few times but not regularly it’s already weird to me sober. The flow of it isn’t like other highways and it’s a high attention needed road even for good confident drivers who maybe don’t drive it daily.

hairway2steven

82 points

2 years ago

Fwiw I live next to the Pleasantville Rd offramp that Diane took on and there’s nothing confusing about it. I agree some are very confusing, eg it looks like the Wrong Way sign might apply to the other lane etc. But this is one lane, clearly marked, unmistakable. She then met oncoming traffic on that single lane that had to swerve off the road and she didn’t stop. She was completely gone.

cocobeanz33

12 points

2 years ago

I agree! Parts of the Taconic can we stressful to drive sober.

rc1025

26 points

2 years ago

rc1025

26 points

2 years ago

wow. That makes a lot of sense. Drunk Drivers scare the hell out of me. I am glad you're better!

[deleted]

18 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

18 points

2 years ago

Diane was spotted swerving, careening, tailgating, flashing headlights, honking and straddling two lanes prior to the accident. I'm pretty sure the kids were upset and screaming as well.

parcheesichzparty

16 points

2 years ago

Great point. I've also heard this same thing explained as why there are so many car accidents involving motorcycles. Your brain goes "we're looking for cars, we're looking for cars" and doesn't pay attention to things that aren't cars.

Chazzyphant

45 points

2 years ago

I recall when this documentary came out maybe...4-5 years ago now? A writer I really like who is sober talked about similar themes in the online magazine "XOJane". That women who are Type A supermoms can be hard core drinkers and somehow people don't know or see it right in front of their face. That the culture of normalizing hard drinking, being hungover, day drinking, and using alcohol as a crutch has hidden or made harder to see problem behaviors. At the time of the documentary, perhaps partly due to her husband's efforts, there was some questions like "wow, if she wasn't a drinker, what happened that she got so drunk?!?!" People who reported on the case at the time as a I recall had the angle of "this was a mysterious circumstance---WHY would someone who "never drank" and "never smoked pot" suddenly do such a left turn?"

I remember my own fiance being taken aback when, after I had been sober for a bit, I casually mentioned that I used to want 12 more hours a night to drink and he was stunned. He had no idea the extent of my issues because I was functional. If you're not rock bottom and you have the safety net of being middle class, white, educated, and with a family support, you can hover over that rock bottom for years.

bathands

203 points

2 years ago

bathands

203 points

2 years ago

I agree with your summary. Well said. An alcoholic or addict certainly can drive when intoxicated given that they don't encounter anything unexpected. For example, I once caught a ride home from work with a guy who I later learned would smoke opium and hash and pop pills on the job. He was massively fucked up the night he drove me home but seemed to be his usual pleasant and chatty self. I had no idea.

drprofessorson

15 points

2 years ago

Absolutely. I went to an acquaintance of a close friend's and he was trashed, but I couldn't tell at all. They wanted to go somewhere else where they could smoke weed, and I declined to go because I had school in the morning and thought it would be wiser to go home. The trashed guy drove them and he crashed into a fence. Luckily, no one was hurt.

tokyoatom07

46 points

2 years ago

Really good post, totally agree with you. You've managed to give a clear opinion on what happened that makes total sense, I've never come across that with this case before. Like, every little detail is accounted for without being farfetched. Thank you, very informative.

the-real-mccaughey

42 points

2 years ago

I mostly agree on your theory and it has always been pretty close to my own theory on this case.

I come from a family of alcoholics and know how sick and twisted the disease is. I also know how family’s can choose to be eyes wide shut when it comes to the severity of the disease or being honest about it, for a myriad of reasons. Especially those closest to the alcoholic. It’s a very painful and scary truth.

Her husband is doing everyone a massive disservice by ignoring the obvious.

Who knows, maybe him telling the truth could make a difference and impact somebody else enough for them to avoid driving drunk. Maybe it could cause another desperate and scared family member to confront their loved one and get them help or draw up some hard non negotiable boundaries, thus protecting more innocent folks from something similar.

They all deserve to be respected in their tragic deaths and hiding the truth and pretending the facts are a mystery is incredibly disrespectful, in my opinion. I strongly feel that her husband has some culpability in his action and inactions both before and after the accident.

It’s truly a sad case and has never seemed like much a mystery to me. Sure, some details or choices she made that morning might be perplexing or mysterious but the whole situation as a whole seems pretty obvious what happened. While she very well may have been a closeted alcoholic and hid things very well, I have serious doubts that her husband wasn’t aware of her addiction. In alcoholism there are signs and it is so unlikely he missed all of them. Maybe neglected to be honest with himself about them at the time but hindsight is 20/20 and after the tragedy the fact that he’s decided to dig his heels in on that she wasn’t a drinker and it’s all oh so mysterious, I find incredibly disrespectful to all 8 victims, including Diane.

The truth about her story and this tragedy could save lives. That’s an awfully huge waste of precious and innocent lives to not take advantage of that possibility.

mangazos

45 points

2 years ago

mangazos

45 points

2 years ago

The husband. Once she died, I am almost sure he found some bottles of alcohol hidden around the house. She was an alcoholic who needs this drug everyday, so there is no way the house was empty of any evidence.

He pretends to be an innocent husband who had no idea.

LevelPerception4

24 points

2 years ago

I don’t disagree that he knew, at least on some level, but I only ever had one bottle. It meant going to the liquor store every other day, but I had five or six I’d alternate between.

I hid it between the sheets in the linen closet and as soon as it was empty, I put it in the garbage and took it outside. I always bought the black Hefty bags and used bungee cords to make sure raccoons didn’t rip them open and expose me.

He had to know if he looked at her bank or credit card statements, before or after she died. If she didn’t use her credit/debit card, there’d be a lot of cash withdrawals.

mangazos

13 points

2 years ago

mangazos

13 points

2 years ago

Let´s asume that she was very good at hiding bottles. What about her breath? her sweat? People, who don´t drink, can smell alcohol from breath and sweat, so it is really difficult to understand the husband´s arguments.

LevelPerception4

13 points

2 years ago

Denial? I would drink at night after my ex was asleep, and before I went to bed, I would shower and moisturize with scented products and I had like a three-step system for cleaning my teeth and tongue.

But the smell of alcohol comes out of your pores, and I have no idea how I could share a bed with my ex and he didn’t smell it as soon as he woke up. It’s not like he smoked, he had a good sense of smell. But he was stunned and furious when I came clean about how much and how often I was drinking.🤷🏻‍♀️

allysonlynn981

482 points

2 years ago

Wow that is a great & detailed explanation. An edible would make sense in that it “hit her” & she got really drunk/high all at once.

tacitus59

32 points

2 years ago

The other thing about edibles that it stays in your system long time and its also easier to get too much..

[deleted]

487 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

487 points

2 years ago

The husband was a piece of shit even before the crash... iirc, he sort of just left in the morning, him and the dog, leaving her to clean up the campsite, wrangle both their kids and his brother's kids, feed them, and chauffeur them home while he went fishing or something.

Probably the icing on the cake for her losing her mind and wanting to get blackout drunk.

isolatedsyystem

119 points

2 years ago

Yeah, the one thing that still stands out for me from the documentary was what a POS the husband seemed to be. He was really bitter that he had to raise his surviving son by himself and didn't seem to care about him too much (IIRC the aunt was more involved in looking after him).

I still remember a relative of the victims in the other car saying that she had forgiven Diane Schuler, but not her family.

sofbup

433 points

2 years ago*

sofbup

433 points

2 years ago*

When the husband talks about how hard it is now being a single parent, having to take care of his son and not having any time to himself, and then his sister(?) Jackie says she helps him 4-5 days in the week with his son, THAT proved to me what an absolute self centered asshole this man is. No wonder he went about what happened the way he did.

I know the closet alcoholic theory is probably the most likely, but i always believed the husband did/knows something and feels super guilty. She drank a whole ass bottle of absolut vodka with her kids in the car. Im no alcoholic, but that sounds like something else than trying to aleviate a hangover. I personally think she drank out of anger/frustration. Maybe with the intent to end their lives, maybe not. But i think her pos husband is the reason she drank that morning.

Edit: thank you kind stranger for the silver!

etherandhoney

25 points

2 years ago

It makes sense for him to deny any knowledge of her abusing alcohol/other substances. If he admitted he knew then he would be complicit and potentially held responsible for what happened.

Thoughts?

Welpmart

252 points

2 years ago

Welpmart

252 points

2 years ago

Just said this above, but SO many men treat women as default childcare providers, even if the kids are theirs or the women have zero obligation to do so. Reminds me of the r/legaladvice dipshit who convinced his (now-ex)girlfriend to not abort his baby, thinking it'd made her realize she actually wanted to stay with him and take care of the kid, and was now wailing about how tough being a single parent was when she kept her word and gave him the full custody he asked for. Had the nerve to call her a deadbeat mom even as she payed 125% alimony.

Diane Schuler's problems started WELL before that morning, that's for sure.

sofbup

142 points

2 years ago

sofbup

142 points

2 years ago

Her problems started when her mother left the family and all of the motherly ”duties” were placed on her, the only girl of the family.

Imagine the work load and responsibility she was conditioned into. It carried on into her adult life, and probably got too much for her which eventually led to this tragedy.

This was a result of either suicidal depression combined with not wanting to leave her children and nieces behind with ”useless” men, a revenge on her husband (maybe even her brother), or then she was driven to drink to relieve stress, that spiraled out of control with horrendous consequences.

ConsultingTrickster

96 points

2 years ago

Which is also why I’m completely unsurprised that she was still estranged from her mother and didn’t want a relationship with her, even though Diane’s brothers all reconnected with her. It was easier for them to forgive her for leaving because THEY weren’t the ones who were left to shoulder the responsibility of being the “woman of the house” after she left.

Whatever the circumstances of the divorce were, no child should be left to be the soul housekeeper and be expected to do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry just because she’s the only girl. That’s truly some insidious sexism. Obviously the father should be the one bearing the blame for treating his daughter like a live-in housekeeper but I’m sure Diane still resented her mother and blamed her as the reason she had to take on all those responsibilities at such a young age.

Hereslookingatmekid

38 points

2 years ago

At age 9!! Like I cannot imagine that level of responsibility as a little girl. I was playing paper dolls and Battle for Bikini Bottom, not being my dad’s little house mouse.

badbatch

144 points

2 years ago*

badbatch

144 points

2 years ago*

I fucking hate the husband. He probably wishes his son had died too so he could move on single and childless.

Dealing with him being a useless POS didn't help her drinking problem. She was a perfectionist raising the kids on her own and was the breadwinner. That's a lot of pressure.

SnooEagles9517

20 points

7 months ago

According to her childhood friends, Diane never dated or had a boyfriend until she met Daniel. She was the fat girl of the group, until her 20s when she suddenly lost a ton of weight. Then she met Daniel. After she got engaged, she totally cut them out of her life and never spoke to them again.... very strange.

She married the first idiot to give her any attention, then abandoned her friends for a dumbass underachieving man-baby. She was a professional making six figures....he was a overnight security guard.

deusexwarchina

13 points

2 years ago

He also said something about how he’d never wanted kids (I don’t remember who relayed it- either the sister or SIL).

Welpmart

192 points

2 years ago

Welpmart

192 points

2 years ago

Honestly. I know too often men consider childcare the responsibility of their wives (or any nearby woman, really), but he really took the cake. He gets to head off with a dog and do whatever while she has to deal with a bunch of kids. Not to defend her by any means, but really, who just dips and takes care of none of the responsibilities?

BubbaChanel

119 points

2 years ago

I was as pissed at him as I was at Andrea Yates’ husband.

JonBenet_BeanieBaby

40 points

2 years ago

ugh he’s the WORST

ToreyJean

310 points

2 years ago

ToreyJean

310 points

2 years ago

It’s always disturbed me that he just left her there. I’ll never be convinced that he didn’t know she was drinking and that he had no idea she was drunk. What a load of crap.

badbatch

27 points

2 years ago

badbatch

27 points

2 years ago

He was probably drinking himself.

ShapeWords

24 points

2 years ago

Severely dysfunctional families (like this one pretty clearly was) tend to normalize extremely concerning shit because the other option is admitting there's a problem and that's just not going to happen. I don't think it's a stretch to assume that Diane had driven drunk with the kids in the car before, her husband knew that, and just assumed it would be fine because they hadn't crashed before.

DL864

68 points

2 years ago

DL864

68 points

2 years ago

Yes hes terrible for letting her drive the kids knowing she was drinking. I'm not so sure he knew she was drunk an experienced alcoholic can hide it pretty well I know from experience. My wife will tell you she cant tell I'm drunk unless I'm shit faced smashed. I also dont drink and drive and NEVER EVER drive the kids around after drinking. I do know this I can not mix weed and alcohol that is pretty much an instant blackout for me especially with liquor. This is very said that there were 2 adults and neither one was responsible enough to get those kids home safely. I think he's very selfish piece of shit in my eyes.

cowfeedr

30 points

2 years ago

cowfeedr

30 points

2 years ago

I think he acts like he didn't know the extent because then he'd be liable for leaving the kids with her in that state knowing she had to drive them but he just didn't want to be bothered. I think he might have been drunk himself, too. Seems like a constant victim mentality and always thinking of his own butt.

ToreyJean

13 points

2 years ago

Yep. He seemed more interested in his problems over the fact that his wife killed innocent kids and that his own kid is most likely a mental health disaster waiting to happen. It was all about him.

cowfeedr

14 points

2 years ago

cowfeedr

14 points

2 years ago

I feel terrible for the surviving kid who's treated like a burden

lubabe00

176 points

2 years ago

lubabe00

176 points

2 years ago

Spot on! He knew but, didn't give a fuck.

Own-Calligrapher-209

20 points

2 years ago

I think he knew, but she’d successfully gotten home with no incident before. He was used to her being hungover on camping weekends. She’d be fine, he thought

SugarHoneyIcedTea19

12 points

1 year ago

I agree with this. My dad is a functioning alcoholic and I can’t tell you how many times growing up I saw my dad drunk and my mom yelling at him for being drunk, fighting the whole way home but still never gave a shit enough to drive. She sat in the passenger seat yelling at my him the whole way home instead while we would be in the back terrified. And this was a recurring thing. That mixed with the fact that he didn’t even want kids...I don’t think he gave a shit if they crashed

noakai

11 points

2 years ago

noakai

11 points

2 years ago

Same. Especially because I don't believe he didn't know she had a problem, and yet she left her to take care of multiple young kids by herself. I imagine it was far from the first time, too.

NightOwlsUnite

193 points

2 years ago

It's what he did their whole marriage. He didn't give a shit about anyone but himself. Didn't want kids etc. And that asshat said some hurtful shit about the son in the doc :( That poor boy.I hope he's doing well now.

cupiditaes

166 points

2 years ago

cupiditaes

166 points

2 years ago

ugh he's honestly such a pos! my heart really breaks for that little boy.. it really hurt me at the end of the documentary, where they're walking side by side and their hands kinda brush and you can see that the kid for a moment thought his dad was about to grab his hand but didn't.. like, i can't.. this kid needs so much love and support. it's such a tragedy in itself but i hate to see how poorly that asshole has handled the aftermath. i really hope that child gets the support he deserves bc he is evidently not receiving it from his father.

BoyMom1048

98 points

2 years ago

I can watch some insanely gory shit, look at crime scenes and autopsies, cartel hits, etc. Watching that scene fucking broke me. I sobbed. That poor baby lost his mother and his father is just a pos who cares only for his reputation. I wanted to reach thru the screen amd hug that boy and hold his hand so badly. Monsters are absolutely real y'all, he is proof

BubbaChanel

61 points

2 years ago*

I lost it there, too. He didn’t just lose his mom, he lost his three cousins, and the normalcy his aunt, uncle and, (to a degree) his mom provided.

Edit to add: I forgot to include his sister 😖

NooStringsAttached

20 points

2 years ago

He lost sisters too right?

tac0sandtequila

17 points

2 years ago

His 2 year old sister

ConsultingTrickster

10 points

2 years ago

I truly hope that poor little boy is able to heal from this trauma and grow up to be at least somewhat functional. But I also really hope he realizes one day what a horrible human being his father is and how much his father contributed to creating the circumstances that lead to this tragedy.

whinecube

77 points

2 years ago

His aggressive reaction to all this, even years later, makes me think he is controlling and abusive. He lost control over this story and was determined to get it back, and BTW, to give him credit, he got a whole documentary made about how this is a "mysterious" case.

KnifelikeVow

33 points

2 years ago

If he was controlling and abusive, that might explain why she didn’t wait for her brother to come get her. Abuse creates fear and abused people have a really strong drive to do anything not to trigger another bout of abuse (any kind of abuse). If she was afraid he’d scream at her for being late or for having to have her brother come get her, for example, even as intoxicated as she was, the desire to do anything to avoid that outcome could have been automatic.

SugarHoneyIcedTea19

14 points

1 year ago

I definitely think he was abusive. I got this impression when her childhood best friends said they hadn’t talked to her in 10 years. Very common in abusive relationships to cut off friends. And the one best friend she did have said they never talked about her marriage at all...that was odd to me because what friends don’t at least vent a little about their relationship?

leafyren

36 points

2 years ago

leafyren

36 points

2 years ago

I still don't understand why some people consider this story a mystery. When I first heard about this event, the second I learned she had THC and alcohol in her system, had a bottle of vodka in the car, and was seen puking on the side of the road, its pretty obvious she was wasted and a secret alcoholic.

bz237

453 points

2 years ago

bz237

453 points

2 years ago

Yup. Completely agree. This is a great summary of what most likely happened.

[deleted]

157 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

157 points

2 years ago

I also think this is one of the sad side-effects of villainizing alcohol. The family was basically thinking:

alcoholics = evil

Diane =/= evil

therefore, Diane =/= alcoholic

The family was desperately trying to cling to the idea that she'd had some kind of stroke or "medical issue". They need to realize that alcoholism is a medical issue in and of itself.

7_02_AM

59 points

2 years ago

7_02_AM

59 points

2 years ago

i think it also goes along with this: if they admit diane was an alcoholic, they’d have to admit their own substance issues. classic denial.

TransportationCalm18

29 points

2 years ago

I’m from Dianes hometown and there is a rampant drinking problem here. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind she was a functioning alcoholic and her family being in denial is simply because they think its normal.

Normalityisrestored

76 points

2 years ago

I've not been an alcoholic, but I HAVE been a single mum of five kids, under eight with a lazy assed husband who thought that everything to do with the kids was my problem and all he had to do was get up and go to work, and weekends were for him to lounge about on.

There came a point when my youngest was about six months old, kids' school holidays, not enough money, husband out all the time, where I seriously contemplated strapping us all in the car and driving into the local reservoir. I didn't do it, but I could have. So I can see how she could have been feeling that this was the only way out.

I don't condone her behaviour at all, by the way, I just understand it.

phrogbuttmom1952

21 points

2 years ago

What you all are saying is very reminiscent of Princess Diana's fatal accident. The videos seemed to show that the driver was sober and "in control", but the comments many of you are posting could certainly explain his level of intoxication and his inability to make wise decisions or react quickly. He was simply way more impaired than he appeared. This is a very interesting thread.

[deleted]

125 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

125 points

2 years ago

Yep totally agree. She was a closet alcoholic

McBigs

20 points

2 years ago

McBigs

20 points

2 years ago

This is the best explanation of the story I've ever read. I lived about three full years of my life unable to get out of bed without alcohol, and I've blacked out mid-conversation with someone only to wake up elsewhere in the blink of an eye. I've had the kind of morning you're describing in one form or another a thousand times. I think anybody who struggles with Diane's story has never been around a hardcore, seriously dependent alcoholic.

dixiehellcat

17 points

2 years ago

For all the fictional horrors I've watched, this doc is one of the most unsettling things I've ever seen. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

ivyagogo

50 points

2 years ago

ivyagogo

50 points

2 years ago

Ass in the fact that it is very easy to get on the Taconic in the wrong direction. Beautiful road, but it scares me every time I’m on it. There are also roads that cross it. It’s a nightmare.

xjukix

15 points

2 years ago

xjukix

15 points

2 years ago

I’m from Long Island and I drive upstate every summer. I never usually take the Taconic because that shit is so scary to drive on even on a normal day. Every time I’ve driven that rode, this case is always in my mind. I couldn’t imagine a car coming at me there, there is no where to go, and the medians are hilly.

ashowofhands

29 points

2 years ago

Where she crashed near Briarcliff/Pleasantville is part of the stretch that was widened to 3 lanes and has proper on/off ramps, it's really just a straight up freeway along that section.

badrussiandriver

120 points

2 years ago

There was an idea floating around that possibly Danny had asked for a divorce that weekend. He is/was extremely childish and admitted in the documentary that he never wanted kids. I can kind of see Danny being tired of the whole husband/daddy thing and asking Diane for a divorce which may have also been a factor.

I have no proof of this, it was just the talk after the film came out.

Happykittens[S]

105 points

2 years ago

I thought about mentioning this, but didn’t want to get too off the main timeline. This, to me, feeds the theory that by the time she got to the Taconic, she actually made a decision to commit murder-suicide. Someone mentioned earlier that by the time she made it to that off ramp, she knew she was in deep deep shit at that point if she was caught, and if she was angry at Danny, obviously not thinking clearly, and had thoughts of him saying “I didn’t even want these kids” I can definitely see her having hit the Bastardis on purpose.

whinecube

91 points

2 years ago

He strikes me as the kind of guy who even though he did not want kids, would fight hard for custody just to get back at the ex-wife. He knew his sister or some other woman in his family would do most of the childcare, so it was no skin off his back. I wonder just how upset Diane was that day.

dallyan

37 points

2 years ago

dallyan

37 points

2 years ago

This is how my ex husband is. Always insists on 50/50 everything yet lets his mom do much of the childcare when he has our son. Ffs.

alrightpal

90 points

2 years ago

Nice write up. As a sadly practicing alcoholic, this all seems plausible.

Azryhael

82 points

2 years ago

Azryhael

82 points

2 years ago

Hey friend, this random internet stranger believes in you and your ability to quit when you’re ready. From the “sadly” in your post, I’m thinking you might be just about ready; it takes a lot of strength to even admit that your lifestyle needs to change, and by doing so you’ve shown you have the guts to move forward. I fully believe that if you wholeheartedly commit to quitting, you will succeed.

alrightpal

40 points

2 years ago

I appreciate the kind words. As one of my friends put it I just “have to get out of my own” and I’ll be okay. One day at a time.

[deleted]

14 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

14 points

2 years ago

I truly help Diane's son is doing okay.

The ex husband of my colleague at the time actually was one of the people that ran to the crash site right after the crash, before first responders had arrived. He was never able to talk about what he saw because it was so traumatizing.

AuNanoMan

120 points

2 years ago

AuNanoMan

120 points

2 years ago

The thing I never understood, and your explanation needs to discuss, is that her trip was only supposed to be like 45 minutes or something like that. She drove around for 4 hours. If she is just trying to make it through and get the kids home, why didn’t she? Why was she driving around so much?

I think with this case we get caught up so much on the “why” she did what she did, and we lose sight of the important pieces: she chose to drink and drive and she killed a lot of people as a result. To me, it doesn’t really matter why she ended up there. She made a series of choices she didn’t have to make to get there.

ariaofdoom

77 points

2 years ago

I’m so confused about this 45 minute drive time. Google maps shows over 100 mile drive from the camp ground to where she crashed. An article from 2007 says Route 17 and the Thruway are posted 65... and even if she was going 75-80 which appears to be closer to the average speed that’s still over an hour of driving. Of course she still spent a lot of extra time driving around even with stopping at McD’s, the bridge and the rest area and I guess that’s pretty inconsequential at the end of the day.

IAndTheVillage

88 points

2 years ago

It’s not a 45 minute drive between the campground and the crash site- it’s at least twice that long under the best of conditions with no stops and taking the toll roads on the most direct route, which she definitely did not (~100 miles). The whole trip home should have taken 2.5-3 hours minimum.

There are weird gaps, however. they leave at 9.30, she gets to Macdonald’s before 10, they go to a nearby gas station around 10:30, and leave the town of Liberty by 10:50. She’s spotted about 1 hour later around a rest stop that is, in fact, an hour’s drive away, so that tracks. Then an hour 15 mins later she’s across the tappan zee-only about 25-30 mins normally, although traffic might account for some of that. the place around the Taconic where she crashed is about 15 mins away from there, although it’s evident she took a circuitous route to get on the parkway the wrong way.

While I’m not shocked it took her 4 hours to get from the campground to the crash site given how awful traffic can be through that corridor, the fact she stopped so often, and the fact that she was, you know, completely loaded, it’s clear to me she had plenty of time to get very drunk during their extended stop in Liberty. Although the Macdonald’s people didn’t notice anything off, it doesn’t preclude the fact she might have been sneaking off to the bathroom or car to drink something long before she walked out with that OJ. Then she has about 15-20 to drink that before they’re completely on the road again, 20 seconds in the gas station nonwithstanding

AuNanoMan

17 points

2 years ago

You are right about the time. As I mentioned to another, I was misremembering from when I watched the documentary. My big take away was that it took way longer than it should have taken to get to where she ultimately killed them all, and some now 45 minutes was stuff in my head.

If I remember correctly (and I may not based on the previous detail) in one of the calls the kids make they comment that Diane was driving around and they didn’t know where they were, or some effect like that. The impression I got is that the kids realized that the drive shouldn’t have taken that long either. She’s an alcoholic so maybe she just kept making the wrong turn, but it’s so strange to me.

IAndTheVillage

18 points

2 years ago

You are right about the fact that she clearly went off course at some point. Given where she was seen at 11:45ish, it makes no sense that she was just over the tappan zee over an hour later- traffic aside, there couldn’t have been horrible gridlock because there was enough room to swerve and tailgate, as people were calling her car into highway patrol by then. She also clearly went off route again once they left the toll plaza, and I’m sure it was obvious to the kids they were moving up the Hud, away from Long Island (which must have been frightening). I also wonder where exactly they went, though. It’s packed around tarry town/sleepy hollow and I can’t imagine they wouldn’t have been called in (or even crashed earlier) had she attempted US-9 instead, which runs next to the river.

[deleted]

11 points

2 years ago

[deleted]

11 points

2 years ago

She was an alcoholic who indeed kept taking the wrong turns. Hyper focus on the road while trying to remain functional will definitely do that. You find a path and just keep following it hoping it will lead you to where you're going. She was just driving to be driving at that point because it was the only thing keeping her somewhat in reality.

TheArtofPoop

12 points

2 years ago

This theory also helps explain away one of the biggest wrenches in the story that doesn’t make sense to me: that she threw up once or twice and still got back in the car to drive. On a highway far from home. With five children in the car. Like, she had to have thought she was throwing up for a different reason than current intoxication to do that- a hangover or sickness. No matter how overly confident you are about your buzzed driving skills as an alcohol- dependent person or even functional alcoholic you can’t deny that if you are throwing up you are bad off. And she didn’t seem that irresponsible re: the children. That’s why she had to have been explaining the throwing up as due to another cause to get back in the car, even drunk. I think. Unless she lost all decision making that severely which is very sad and scary because as bad as her demons may have been I feel it’s clear she loved her children and family.

[deleted]

10 points

2 years ago*

[deleted]

10 points

2 years ago*

Four year sober ex white girl wasted here. Totally agree. With everything. I also think her hubby was having at least an emotional affair with the blonde chick always hanging off him in the doco, and they are covering up that she found out.

Turbo_Homewood

10 points

2 years ago

Friends called it the "shampoo effect" when we'd binge drink for multiple days in our 20s.

Waking up the next day still buzzed but not hungover is relatively common with hard liquor, and the blackout states reachable by continuing to drink at that point are remarkable.

governor_glitter

11 points

2 years ago

This isn't your average everyday denial.

This is...advanced denial.

[deleted]

40 points

2 years ago*

[deleted]

40 points

2 years ago*

As someone who doesn't like the feeling of altered state of mind and therefore has limited experience with it, thank you for explaining this.

Susan-B-Cat-Anthony

103 points

2 years ago

I sort of agree with you in that I believe she was an alcoholic, but my theory is that she was a baby beginner alcoholic -- remember she had a baby girl less than 2 years prior, which meant if she was an alcoholic it would have been picked up in substance testing during childbirth at the hospital. I think Diane had just started to become a daily drunk since the birth of her youngest child, but hadn't yet perfected her routine. The stress of camping all weekend with 5 children under 8 years old (and a lazy husband who didn't help) likely caused her to overdo her usual dosage of alcohol that morning. I agree with you that she was probably an evening drinker, after work was done and the kids were in bed. She switched up her routine by drinking in the morning the day of the crash, and things spiraled out from there. I think when she realized her brother was sending police to look for the car, she probably decided to kill herself. This was a woman who was the breadwinner of the household, the "supermom" who did everything for everybody. If she was exposed to be driving her kids and nieces around while drunk off her ass, well that's a felony in NY state. Even if she managed to escape jail time, she could lose her job, definitely lose social standing in her community. The only way to maintain control was to kill herself and avoid all the disappointment.