Understatement of the Decade

“There’s something wrong with Aunt Diane.”

A simple sentence uttered by a scared young niece, talking to her dad on a cell phone. As her aunt, Diane Schuler, drove the wrong way for almost two miles into oncoming traffic on the Taconic Parkway in NY on July 26, 2009.

Aunt Diane died. Along with one of her own children, and all three of her nieces riding in the red minivan with her that day. Diane’s only son, Bryan, survived the horrific crash.  Diane drove in excess of 85 MPH in the fast lane – in the wrong direction.  She finally hit an SUV head on, and killed all three people inside.

There’s something wrong with Aunt Diane. Ya think?!

This past week I stumbled upon a documentary on HBO On Demand titled “There is Something Wrong With Aunt Diane.”  When I read the description I was intrigued. Because I vaguely remember hearing the story of the mom driving the wrong way and killing a whole bunch of people.  If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that I LOVE true crime/mystery shows like 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline.  Everytime I watch a new one, I like to unravel the clues as to how and why.  I am both shocked and, yet, not really all that surprised at how evil and bad human beings can be.  But Aunt Diane, was she bad? Was she evil? What the hell happened?

I guess the other thing you should know about me is that I, too, am an aunt. And I love my niece and nephew more than life itself. I would never do anything to harm them or put them in harm’s way. I say this because as the autopsy showed us a couple of weeks later, Aunt Diane was drunk – double the legal limit (they say she drank enough vodka for ten drinks, and there was even some still in her stomach, undigested) AND stoned. They concluded by the tests done that she had smoked only 15-30 minutes prior to the crash.

I would do neither one of those things. While driving with the kids in the car? C’mon. No friggin’ way. So what was Diane Schuler thinking.

Before I go on, I’m going to throw in a timeline so you can get a sense of what went down and when.  If at any point you are intrigued, then please Google Diane Schuler and read the dozens of stories written over the past two years. And the hundreds, if not thousands, of comments written about this topic.  She is vilified. She is called terrible names. She is called an alcoholic. Someone who will burn in hell.  Will she? I dunno. But let’s think about what happened.

Timeline: http://crimeseekers.net/forums/showthread.php?4062-Timeline-for-tragedy-on-Taconic-Parkway

What I write now, is a combination of what I saw in the documentary and of the dozens of articles I have read since viewing said documentary. I literally cannot get enough of this story and find it to be a complete mystery.  What we do know is that Diane drove the wrong way, shit faced and stoned, and murdered a whole bunch of people. Including family members which I ASSUME meant a lot to her. I can only assume that. But why did she drink? Why did she smoke? Why did she drive the wrong way? These are all questions that don’t have easy answers. 

Diane and her husband Daniel went camping with their two children, and three of Diane’s nieces.  Apparently Diane’s brother and sister-in-law liked them enough to let their kids go camping with them. And even liked them enough to lend their own minivan to haul all those kids around. 

Question: If Diane’s brother or sister-in-law ever suspected her to be an alcoholic, would they have a) lent her the van and b) drive the kids around while possibly drinking? My answer: doubtful.

At no point did anyone in the documentary ever say “Yes I worked with Diane and she sometimes smelled like booze.”  At no point has anyone come forward since the accident and say “I saw Mrs. Schuler buy liquor every week in the liquor store I work at.”  At no point has ANY family member, including the parents of the deceased children, say “You know, I sort of suspected that Diane had a drinking problem.” No in fact, everyone has said NICE things about her. She had a decent job, paid a salary twice that of her husband’s.  Everyone said that her kids were always ironed and clean.  Nothing disheveled or problematic. Yeah I know, alcoholics have a good way of hiding it. But seriously…not ONE person suspected anything and came out saying so in the last two years? Unfathomable.

Okay so camping is done.  Kids climb into minivan with Diane. Daniel takes the dog in the pickup truck. They separately head home.

At no point during her four-hour odyssey home (which shouldnt have taken that long BTW) did she pick up her cell phone and call her husband.

I find that strange.

As far as Daniel is concerned his wife was perfect and they never had any problems in their marriage. He is giving NO clues into this mystery whatsoever. Personally, I do think they had a fight at some point during the trip. Possibly that morning.  Was he cheating? Was he just a deadbeat or did nothing?  Unknown. But she never called him once. Not to say “I don’t feel well.” Not to say “I’m running late.” Not to say “Hey did you get home okay?  Was there traffic? I love you.”


The day progresses normally. They all stop at a McDonald’s for breakfast.  Clerk at restaurant does not remember Diane acting strangely or drunk or erratic. Okay. Good. Kids played at the Playground there. Supposedly she had some OJ. Is that when she started drinking? Unknown.

What we do know: Daniel admits to keeping vodka at the camper which they both took back and forth on trips. Huh? Is he trying to cover up for her, because the vodka bottle was found at the scene of the crash. Oh and her blood showed ten shots of vodka in her system at the time of the crash?  Transporting it is one thing. Swigging on it while driving home with five children all under the age of nine is another thing.

WHAT would make Diane start drinking and toking marijuana?

Daniel claims she had a bad tooth, an abscess, which must’ve given her so much pain that she started drinking to mask the pain.  At one point (see timeline) she stops at a gas station and goes into ask the clerk working there if they have some sort of pain pills. Like Advil or Tylenol. He says no, and tells authorities later that she did not seem drunk or erratic.

Wait a second – gas station store doesn’t have packets of Advil or Tylenol?? Dont buy it. Maybe clerk doesn’t remember, but maybe she was looking to buy something else. I’ll let this one go. There is no audio and I can’t say either way what she asked for. Maybe rolling papers? Seems crazy, but this story gets crazier.

Ok, so let’s say her tooth DID hurt and she thought “Hey, a couple of sips of this Absolut will help.” I mean, I guess I’ve heard of zanier things. But really? A perfect mom, NOT that far from home, can’t tough it out?? Can’t stop at like a real market or convenience store for pain relievers? And if it is THAT bad, wouldn’t she call her husband to say “Honey, I just can’t make it. I cannot see straight and I cannot drive these kids any longer. Help.”

No calls to her husband, at all.

You know what would make me start drinking? Being depressed, hating life, just finding out my husband sucks/ was cheating/ wants to leave me / admits that he never wanted kids (which he does say during the documentary). I dunno. Maybe she just snapped.

But I honestly, in my heart of hearts, do believe that she never intended on making it home that day.  I think the vodka was liquid courage. I think she needed the balls to drive into traffic. I personally believe it was a murder/suicide.

Now, I have nothing to back that up.  But my biggest thing is WHY. Why did Diane start drinking A LOT. Not just a little but a lot. Why didn’t she say “Oh man, I’ve had too much. I should pull over and call my husband/brother/sister-in-law/police. For the safety of these kids that I love so much.” I mean, even if she kind of disliked her brother’s kids….HER OWN KIDS were in the van. Why would she put them at risk?

And even if Diane was a seasoned alcoholic, what made her lose control and practically drink the whole bottle of booze. AND then smoke some weed.  Bad decisions? You can say that again!!

Bad unless you were preparing to kill yourself and everyone with you. To make those people pay. Pay for what? I don’t know. But I can fathom it happening.

Diane did stop at one point. She pulled over and spoke to her brother for eight minutes. I would LOVE to know what was said. There were a couple of other phone calls prior to that where the people speaking to her have since said that she was acting completely normal.

So at what point does she go off the deep end? Sometime after she pulled over. Her brother said, “I’m coming to help. Stay there.” And yet, Diane doesn’t stay there. She puts her cell phone neatly on the jersey barrier and drives away. This after TWO eye-witnesses say they saw a woman fitting her description on the side of the road heaving her brains out.

Witnesses who saw Diane Schuler driving the wrong way at ridiculous speeds on the Taconic Parkway say they saw a woman who had her hands on the wheel, her eyes were open and she was driving in a straight line. And even though people were honking their horns and swerving out of the way, at no point did she bat an eyelash. She was on a mission to keep driving in that lane no matter what.

And that’s why it seems like she meant to do it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. A woman who either was or wasn’t an alcoholic decided of all days to have a bender with kids in the car? She couldn’t wait til she got home? Smoked some doobie with kids in the car? It doesn’t sound like Diane. No one has ever said she was a reckless driver who put others at risk.

Look, I don’t know what to tell you. Watch that documentary on HBO. Google Diane Schuler and her family. All sorts of insane stuff is happening now, with everyone suing each other. Oh Lordy.

Something was wrong with Aunt Diane. But we will never know what it was. She took that secret to the grave with her. I keep imaging those poor kids…crying and screaming from the back as horns raced by them in the opposite direction.  So tragic.

Diane Schuler seemed like a normal woman, someone who could easily be in your family. What the hell happened?! I’m completely obsessed and I have to accept that I’ll never know or have any answers.

What I can tell you is that I would never ON PURPOSE drink that vodka and smoke that weed WHILE driving kids in the car (or at all for that matter!! I like my car and my driver’s license). They trusted her. Their families trusted her. And instead she made some odd decisions. Believe me, you’ll never see a documentary with the title “There’s something wrong with Auntie Jen.”

Ok, maybe you will. But for completely different reasons.

What do you think? As obsessed as me? Want to tell me to not waste my time thinking about it? Sound off folks!


37 thoughts on “Understatement of the Decade

  1. I like the last comment…..”Ok, maybe you will. But for completely different reasons”

    Very disturbing story, I think you are on to something that she did this intentionally.

    But to answer your question, don’t waste your time thinking about it. Continue to be a good Aunt and shower those kids with love.


  2. Oh I can love those little buggers no matter what. There’s really nothing left for me to read about this tragedy. I’ve watched the documentary and googled the shit out of it. So now I’m just left to sit with it. And I guess learn from this horrific tragedy. That no matter what, it’s probably NOT a good idea to drink and drive, and then drive the wrong way on the highway.

    You’re welcome!


  3. Ok, thank goodness I am not the only one who was abnormally obsessed by this after seeing that documentary. I went so far as to find the exact spot the accident occurred on Google Earth, and I am not the sort of person to fixate on something like this! For about two weeks I was really disturbed by the whole thing, but it is a lot better now that I have come to understand and accept that we will never know why what happened occurred, no matter how much I wish it were otherwise. Now with the horrific lawsuits (with the Brother in law whose three children were killed being sued by Diane’s husband!!!!) it keeps getting dredged up. How they can do something like this, I have no idea. Thank you for validating that I was not alone in my fascination with this after seeing the documentary!


  4. Hey Julie,

    I’m also glad to know that I am not alone! From what I read, Daniel had to sue Warren Hance since he was the owner of the minivan. I’m not sure how true that is. Either way, why sue anyone? It’s a terrible accident and it’s been over two years. Let them all rest in peace now!


  5. I saw the documentary late last night and have been on the internet almost non-stop since. One thing I keep wondering, that I haven’t heard anyone comment on, why did the kids get back in the car after their father (?) Diane’s brother (?) told her to stay there and he would come find her. I’m referring to the 8 minute cell phone call from the side of the road. The oldest girl was 8–seems old enough to just refuse to leave–to do what her father (?) said. Please do not think that I put any responsibility on dear Emma, I just wonder why the older kids didn’t fight back.
    Anyone else wonder this?
    Thanks for everyone’s thoughtful comments. I can’t imagine what happened.


  6. I’m not sure an eight year old would go against what Aunt Diane said or did. I mean, unless her dad said “Get out of the car now!”, I highly doubt she would’ve left her siblings in there as she got out alone. I also think they kids were probably scared. And maybe she was trying to calm the other kids.

    I’m so glad that there are others out there like me, that saw that documentary and went straight to the internet to find out more. But alas…just more pieces to the puzzle.


  7. This story has had my attention since July 2009. I just did not want to believe Diane Schuler did any of this on purpose. Having experienced a drunk driver barrelling towards me in June 2009, it was an experience no person should ever go through—ever. Drunk drivers going the wrong way are in the fast lane because they think they are on the correct side of the road in the slow lane—scary thought, right??? My point here is that she was not in her right mind for whatever reason, although I bet she thought she was in her right mind. I still do not think she intentionally killed herself, her daughter, her nieces, the Bastardi father and son, and Mr. Longo


  8. Greg, thank you for your comment. I love hearing/reading other people’s take on this horrendous tragedy. There are so many pieces of the puzzle missing – pieces we will most likely never have. And therefore it will stay a puzzle forever. I do hate thinking that she meant to kill herself, but it is one possiblity. Maybe? I dunno. I do feel like we are missing actual real parts of the story. I would like to know more about Daniel and Diane’s weekend/last words to each other. Was there a fight? And more about the eight minute phone call between Diane and her brother.


  9. I saw the documentary yesterday. Googling didn’t help too much to give me new stuff. I appreciate your blog and it puts a different spin on it than what I was thinking.

    I have a very, (very) hard time believing she could do it on purpose. I am leaning more on pain relief which was unsuccessful. And why couldn’t she see? An indication of mini-stroke?
    Yes…very many questions and few answers..I plan to watch the documentary again though.

    Regards, Joe


  10. Since I heard about that call, I have always wanted to know what was said—that might answer some questions—might.

    There is only so much we will ever know and not much more about the cause. I have accepted she was intoxicated and high based on the tests done. I just do not believe her intent was murder/suicide and I could very well be wrong.

    It is all so sad—parents and children are lost forever. I wish the Hance’s would share their side more but I can sympathize with their feelings. I wish Daniel Schuler would stop with the lawsuits but I am sure his motives are legal so he does not end up destitute from all this. I also think what the Hance’s are doing with the finances from their daughters fund and giving
    to the Bastardi family is very admirable. We could all learn a lesson from that action.

    Bottom line is 8 wonderful people lost their lives that day. Too many families lives were shattered beyond belief that day and a tragedy larger than most can realize forever altered the futures of good people. None of us could ever change anything so horrific.


  11. Ok look…I know that my opinion isn’t a popular one or even a believable one for that matter. But the odyssey was FOUR hours long. What the hell was taking so long?! I honestly think that something was bugging her and she started drinking and smoking and probably crying and was like “F this, I’m going to end it.” Clearly not thinking in the right mind. Listen – it’s hard to understand a suicidal person’s reason of thinking..but I am a survivor of a suicide attempt and I can tell you right now…When you’re done, you’re done. She just needed to gather up the balls to do it. My opinon. Nothing else makes me feel better. Tooth pain hurts, but wow…call someone and say “I’m in so much pain and can’t see while driving. Can you come pick me up?”


  12. I posted here a while back, and Aunt Diane is still with me. I know that something is really amiss here and that her family is definitely hiding plenty of information. I cannot (even after time has passed) get the nagging questions out of my head. If only we knew what that 8 minute telephone call was about.
    But, I’ve been doing some research on blackouts, and finally found someone who was with someone who was having a long blackout. I realized that I didn’t really understand just what a blackout really is. Having heard her recount specifics about it started me thinking that it could have been a combination of the pain, something that happened with her husband that started her drinking, and then the subsequent blackout. I don’t know, but this started to make some degree of sense to me. Other scenarios just can’t get me past killing her brother’s children, no matter how angry and suicidal she was.


  13. I think you give human beings way too much credit. Plenty of people kill their own kids, nevermind someone else’s. But I hear ya. I know my suicide theory is not popular. As I wrote in another comment, the whole odyssey took FOUR hours. She had four hours to get home before this blackout? Why didn’t she blackout on the Tappanzee Bridge? The thing that gets me is that the people driving the correct direction on the Taconic who saw the van/her driving, said she wasn’t swerving. She was driving in a straight line and fast. That’s enough for me!

    I too keep thinking about this tragic accident and wish we could find out more. I doubt we ever will. Not unless someone comes forward with information of her being an alcoholic or having issues with her husband.


  14. They just showed this again on CNN.

    She was not on a death wish or possessed by the devil, she was just a selfish idiot.
    She hated the dentist and did not want to get the tooth fixed.
    Ok for her, but the minute she took that first sip of vodka while driving she showed just how selfish and stupid she really was. That was an illegal act and she knew it. She should have just stopped driving, but she kept on drinking/driving with young kids in the car. The documentary stated she was a hard nosed control freak that did not show emotion or pain. She thought she could control the effects of the booze and pot. Wrong!

    Her character should have been researched more in the show. I personally think the husband is holding back about her personality. She probably made many very risky and poor judgements that he did not tell us about.


  15. Thank you for this. I love hear other people’s take on the story. I doubt we’ll ever know what the heck happened, but I agree…I think Daniel is holding back. Time to come clean.


  16. I am so engulfed in this story after seeing it last night when it re-aired. I have searched some things on the internet and have followed some what if theories that came to my head…. Has anyone ever heard that people use rubbing alcohol by swishing it in their mouth for a toothache? It is used because of it’s antiseptic properties, but NOT recommended.
    What if harmlessly, not knowing any better, she used hand sanitizer because of the alcohol content to help with a toothache? HAND SANITIZER??? A little crazy right? But what if… Hand sanitizer is used by teens to get high. One squirt is equivalent to about 3 shots of liquor. Liquid hand sanitizer is 62 to 65 percent ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, the main ingredient in beer, wine and spirits, making it 120-proof. To compare, a bottle of vodka is 80-proof. What if the Vodka bottle was in there from the camping trip and NOT actually ingested?
    As far as the Marijuana goes, there is some conflicting articles about Naproxen or other NSAIDS that cause a false positive THC reading….

    PS I never go on a camping trip without hand sanitizer!

    I know we will probably never know the truth of what happened, but this speculation of mine is just that, speculation and I hope I have caused others to think WHAT IF?


  17. Lisa, that is a very interesting theory. I never heard of swishing around hand sanitizer in your mouth. Had Diane? Who knows? I wish the children had said more to their parents when on the phone. And maybe they had but they aren’t coming clean. I’m afraid we will never know what really happened that day. But even if you get drunk or high…would you drive aggressively, beeping at cars – and then ultimately driving the wrong way? The whole thing is crazy.


  18. I’m late on this after reading an article in People, but I think much more is known but no one is saying anything bc of all the lawsuits. Diane’s husband would never admit they had a fight, were hungover etc. bc then he has to admit some culpability. He did admit that they had been drinking during the camping trip. She was hungover and pissed. Couldn’t get Tylenol so she started drinking screwdrivers and smoking. Now though, the Hances are being sued by the family Diane hit bc they owned the mini van, the Hances are suing Schuler’s husband and Schuler’s husband is suing the Hances. No one will admit anything, but they knew she was out of her mind. Diane and her brother had been fighting over something with their Mother. Much more is known, but the lawsuits have zipped their lips.


  19. Couple of things…you think that because Diane was hung over and couldn’t get her hands on some tylenol, that she got pissed enough to start drinking alcohol and smoking weed? I think that’s a jump but okay. But the “they knew she was out of her mind”…Why do you say that? Jackie Hance just said recently on Dateline that she thought Diane was great – a great mom and a great friend. And that she still loves her.

    If much more was known, then it would’ve came out before the lawsuits. For sure. These law suits are stupid and a byproduct of the system. But I’m not sure IF much more is known. The only person who probably knows more is Danny. And I doubt he’ll ever talk.


  20. The 4-yr anniversary of this tragedy (7/26/09) just came and went yesterday, 7.26.13….I’m a mother of 2 young girls, 6 1/2 and 4, and I could NEVER even REMOTELY think of putting them in harm’s way like that…IF Diane WAS a “functioning” alcoholic, what would bring her to such a breaking point that she felt she HAD to do this, esp w/ kids in the vehicle WITH her? Why would she LEAVE her phone someplace, then drive away without it? Did that establish an intent to commit murder / suicide? Did she snap? And, you’re right…she NEVER called her HUSBAND to let him know that something was going on. On that kind of a trip, I’d call my husband FIRST, hands down. I can’t imagine how she felt at such a young age when her OWN mother left…being the ONLY female presence in her family, she felt a need to take on a maternal role in the household…cooking, cleaning, laundry, making sure that her older brothers and her father were taken care of, etc….seems like she’d taken care of OTHERS, and not HERSELF – which is what SHE needed, but didn’t do, and the end result was the only choice she felt that she had. Just kills me on the inside that she needed help a LONG time ago, and never sought it out….I pray that somehow, someday, the Bastardi / Schuler / Hance families get the closure and peace that they need to somehow move on from all of this. Having to re-live this nightmare day after day must be extremely difficult. I’m happy for Warren and Jackie Hance, who’ve decided to create the foundation in loving memory of their 3 daughters, and that they’ve had another child in the midst of moving on. I hope that Danny and Bryan Schuler can have some kind of quality of life, too. Prayers for all involved from this tragedy.


  21. I’m actually happy you mentioned it was the 4 year anniversary. Four years and I cannot imagine that things are any easier for those families. I’m very happy for the Hance family who have had another child. But still…the idea of losing those beautiful girls…it’s really hard to wrap your brain around.

    She never called her husband. I feel like that speaks volumes. Also, he didn’t call her either right? I mean, she should’ve been home shortly after him. Ugh. to rehash it all…kills me.

    Since it’s the four year anniversary, HBO should run the documentary again. Or eve CNN which showed it as well. It’s not a Whodunit, it’s more of a Whydunit…and honestly, we’ll never know that answer.

    She probably did snap. Sorry she had her family in the car at the time. But sometimes those in that state of mind just want to hurt others as much as possible. And she surely did that.


  22. Maybe this is an inactive thread/comment board? Anyway, I am surprised why noone, NOONE, questions the personality type that control freaks and perfectionists are! It´s like that is something GOOD, meaning they´re TRYING so hard, wanting to be perfect is a good thing, controlling everything and everyone around them is a GOOD thing. It´s a HORRIBLE thing. Control freaks/perfectionists care for NOTHING lese but how they´re perceived by others, by society. They are not like that because they love others and order and niceness, they´re like that because of mental issues and they live to let other peopkle know how LESS than perfect others than themselves are and they DIE rather than cop to mistakes and screw-ups. There were things in Diane´s life that didn´t go so well. Ok, cannot handle THAT, let´s commit suicide and do in a driving situation as to not make it obvious. She didn´t care about the other people, not her kids or her nieces. She just didn´t want ANY TYP OF DENT in what shye had constructed around her, which was for some reason starting to show cracks. She was severely mentally ill and YES, people can be that and still keep jobs and iron their kid´s outfits. Jesus, the ignorance in general! Of course, she wasn´t an alcoholic- these things show on the inner organs! But THAT day she drunk and smoked just to give her the Dutch courage to do something that she had made up her mind about.


  23. Yes, thank you for mentioning how this is an inactive thread. Anyway, I’m really not sure what your point is. You seem to be demonizing mentally ill people and even control freaks. Not all mentally ill nor control freaks murder a van full of people and others on the road.


  24. SO glad I found your blog on this – I randomly watched the documentary a few days ago (HBO on demand), and I am totally obsessed with this horribly sad story. Your theory is exactly what I was thinking. My heart breaks for Diane and for the children and their families – and for the innocent gentlemen who were in the SUV. My googling adventure turned up theories about ambien and migraine.. which may have also played a part in Diane’s dark state of mind. So many meds these days have that disclaimer “if you experience suicidal thoughts or actions….” I was glad that, near the end of the documentary, the psychologist said that Diane was not a bad person. Her actions were the horrible actions of a tortured soul. Heartbreaking story.


  25. Hi Julia,

    Thanks for stopping by. Even though it’s been years since the accident, we still do not know anymore than we did back then. It’s baffling. The documentary is addicting, isn’t it? I did the same thing as you… After watching it I googled everything. I’m glad you found me. I certainly don’t know what happened that day, but if she was unable to drive why don’t just talk to her husband or her brother or sister and law and say “Yikes, I can’t do this. Come help me?” I don’t think she wanted help. Sadly. It’s frustrating really.


  26. Hello,
    I just found this site tonight. I had seen the documentary a couple of years back but was reminded of this story after it was mentioned in a listverse.com article tonight. And here I go obsessing about this story again darn it! Why’s it so intriguing, it’s horrible!? That documentary was haunting. My theory is the same as yours. Just picturing someone driving straight on and deliberate, stopping, setting the phone on a guardrail, and not veering off to the side of the road? Murder-suicide is hard to digest, but all the crazy excuses of absessed teeth, being a mom is hard, etc is just grasping at straws! If only we could get closure with this story!


  27. I wish we could get closure. We never will, I fear. Thanks for stopping by. This story still had legs so many years later. I was hoping there would be a diary or something..SOMETHING that gave us a clear idea of WHO Diane was. Oh well. I feel terrible for the kids in the car..they didn’t deserve that fear nor the death. But Diane was on her path and nothing could stop her. I mean, if she had such terrible tooth pain wouldn’t she just have said to her brother, “Wow I can’t do this drive anymore. Can you come get us?” And then stay safely at the rest stop? Yes! But she never did anything like that.


  28. I just recently watched the HBO documentary. I too have become quasi-obsessed with learning more/finding some kind of an explanation. IMO I have to conclude that Diane’s intent was murder/suicide. The lack of communication with the husband while traveling speaks volumes. I also would like to know, and have yet to hear anyone say, if or why not Daniel didn’t try to get in touch with her. It has been stated that her travel time was excessive. Was Daniel unconcerned with Diane’s whereabouts? If not then why? Also, I would like to point out that it is plausible that because Diane herself was abandoned by her mother as a young child, and if she was indeed suicidal, she may have felt that taking her children with her was the better option. The idea of intentionally harming the Hance children may be a stumbling block for some, but considering the effects of the alcohol on an already ill mind, the notion becomes even more possible. After all she had obviously already become receptive to harming the innocents whom she would eventually encounter on this death voyage. Motive? Something happened between her and the husband.


  29. I love that people are still discovering this documentary. I agree with murder/suicide but it is still hard to wrap my brain around killing her brother’s kids. So many unanswered questions.


  30. I’m from England and just watched the documentary last night online I came across it by accident and can’t get the story out of my head. It also rang a bell with me as I used to self medicate to get rid of migraines I’m not going to say what with though as some ppl are judgemental. Also when I was 19 I was drunk as a skunk on whiskey and drove 7 miles home from a mates house and don’t remember a thing but luckily that scared me enough not to do it again. But yes I think your on to something with the suicide theory as she was a control freak and if her husband started complaining about helping her with the kids when packing up and said something nasty like I’ve had enough of you and the kids. In her mind that might mean her world as she knew it would be over so she ended it her way. But I did get the impression that the family are trying to save face when they say stuff like she never drank but are making it worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m completely obsessed as well! After watching the documentary I couldn’t sleep for a week. I do not believe it was suicide… I believe she was basically fucked up driving around with a bunch of mids. It can’t be suicide??!! Why would she harm children!!! Her own kids!!! I do believe it was an accident due to being just plain fucked up. This whole thing is really really sad.

    If you think about it. Bryan only survived because of the bodies of his sister and cousins protecting him. Crazy! Read zJackie Hance’s book. Just so sad. Tore families apart.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Here’s the way I see it. 1) she drank heavy (but secretly) the night before which led to severe hangover and dehydration. 2) she made up a bunch of pot brownies or edibles as not to smoke in front of the kids over camping wkd. 3) her and Danny had nasty fight morning they were leaving. Combined w hangover, toothache and annoying kids she was about to lose it. 4) she had vodka/oj when leaving McDs to take the edge off. 5) when she cldnt get pain meds at gas station she drank more. 6) as pressure was building from kids/in-laws she made the fatal decision to take a double dose of weed edibles. 7)she didn’t feel too drunk before the edibles kicked in but now combined w the hangover/dehydration she is FUBAR. 8) her vision narrows, her mind is corrupted, all her fears and inhibitions have melted away. During the last 1.7 miles she’s on total auto-pilot until Kaplowey! 9) Danny knows the truth or alteast more than he’s admitting to. 10) Danny’s sister needs a new hair style cause that shit went out back in ’81.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I just watched the documentary and did a Google search for Diane and this blog…created 5 years ago was the first to come up. Anyways I don’t believe she started off that day wanting to hurt anyone but, something happened and she didn’t care anymore. There is no way this woman, whom has never had problems like this before just decided to drink half a bottle of vodka and smoke weed with kids in the car because of an infected tooth. I believe that Diane and her husband were having serious problems before the camping trip and the day they left he said/did something that really broke her. Diane leaves with the kids but, I don’t think their fate was sealed at this point. It’s possible that she decided to drive for awhile to clear her head and eventually the kid’s say their hungry so she stops at McDonald’s, keep on mind she’s sober…according to witnesses. Then later on she stops at a gas station for reasons unknown…..I say for reasons unknown because it seems unlikely that she asked for Advil or Tylenol and was told they don’t sell it when pretty much every gas station does. Anyways, at 11:40 her niece Emma called her dad to say they were running late and at 12:10 Emma’s dad called her back and said he had a normal conversation with Diane but, 45 minutes later Emma calls her dad back saying “there’s something wrong with Aunt Diane.” So what happened in those 45 minutes? Something made her literally not care anymore. She purposely sat that phone on the side of the road and she purposely drank and smoked. She was hurt and wanted others to hurt to. I don’t believe she woke up wanting to do this nor do I think she was thinking about this when she started driving that day but, I do believe she was pondering suicide for awhile. Something happened and shattered her and their fates were sealed. Keep in mind this is just my theory. Unfortunately, we will never know what truly happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Thank you for finding and reading my blog. This is one that keeps popping up. It’s maddening not to know exactly what happened. I agree, her husband and her must’ve fought or having issues. Committing suicide that way was wrong. Not only those innocent kids, but the others involved in the car crash. Sad.

    Thanks for adding your comment. Like it has with me, this story will haunt you forever!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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