Taconic Wrong-Way Crash Lawyer Seeks Possible 'Accessories' to Homicide

Civil suit seeks to learn if anyone gave booze to wrong-way driver.

ByABC News via logo
October 15, 2009, 9:26 PM

Oct. 27, 2009— -- The family of two of the eight victims in the deadly crash on New York's Taconic Parkway in July plan to file a civil lawsuit to determine who, if anyone, provided alcohol to the wrong-way driver and who could be considered accessories to homicide, an attorney for the family said.

"If the grand jury determines that alcohol was provided to the deceased, [driver] Diane Schuler, the persons doing that or giving that to her would be accessories, in my opinion, to the commission of the crime of homicide," Irving Anolik, attorney for the Bastardi family, told "Good Morning America."

Guy Bastardi, Michael Bastardi Sr. and another man died when Diane Schuler's car, which was carrying Schuler and five children, smashed into them head on. Schuler had been driving for nearly two miles into oncoming traffic before the accident. Only one child from Schuler's car, her 5-year-old son Bryan, survived.

Toxicology reports determined that Schuler had been drunk and high at the time of the accident and had a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit.

"Today is three months since my family was killed," an emotional Michael Bastardi Jr., son and brother to two of the victims, said.

Schuler's husband, Daniel Schuler, has repeatedly defended his wife, saying she was not a drinker and that the medical examiner's report was inaccurate.

"She did not drink. She was not an alcoholic," Schuler said Aug. 6. "Something medically had to have happened."

Daniel Schuler declined to comment to ABC News on the pending civil lawsuit.

Schuler was driving home with the children from a campground in upstate New York, where witnesses said she seemed fine.

Although investigators and a Westchester County district attorney said the criminal investigation was officially closed, the planned civil suit is the latest incarnation of the Bastardi family's push to look at others who could be held responsible.

Michael Bastardi Jr. told "GMA" in September he believed Daniel Schuler was involved in creating the circumstances that led to his family's death.

"How his wife, Diane, was drunk, on drugs and murdered my family ... I think he also had a role in it," Bastardi said.