Highway Robbery: Westchester’s Wrong Way Accidents- update

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Diane and Daniel Schuler (used with permission)

There have been three high profile wrong-way highway crashes in Westchester County in two years.

Since we posted the story below the movie trailer, a State Senator says he will propose a bill to make wrong way driving in the state a felony. Sen. Charles Fuschillo is from Long Island, where there have been over 20 incidents  of high speed wrong way driving in recent years.

 

At just past the two year anniversary of the catastrophic Taconic wrong-way crash, driver Diane Schuler‘s husband is now suing his brother in law, according to Gothamist, the man who lost three children in the crash, because it was his car that she was driving the wrong way.  This after Schuler has already filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the road’s warning signs were insufficient.

On Wednesday, Jackie Hance, mother of the three girls, sued Daniel Schuler. Hance recently told her story to the Ladies Home Journal.

The tragic story, involving deaths of eight people, continues to baffle many. In the moments leading up to the crash near Briarcliff Manor, Schuler’s niece, 9-year-old Emma Hance, called her mother from the car. “There’s something wrong with Aunt Diane,” she said. That is now the title of a new HBO documentary, directed by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner, Liz Garbus.

Schuler, her 2-year-old daughter, Erin, and her nieces Emma Hance, 8, Alyson Hance, 7, and Kate Hance, 5, died in the July 26, 2009, crash, as did the three occupants of the SUV: Michael Bastardi Sr., Guy Bastardi and Daniel Longo.

Michael Bastardi, whose father, brother and friend were killed in the crash has said he would have nothing to do with the HBO film because he says he felt it glorified Schuler.

“It’s almost impossible to live with losing them and still have to listen to people talk about how she was the perfect mother,” Bastardi has said in other reports.

Bastardi has also published his own account of the crash’s aftermath,  “The Taconic Tragedy: A Son’s Search for the Truth,” was written by his wife, Jeanne.

On July 24, the second area wrong way highway incident this month resulted in a fatality on I-95 in New Rochelle. The other took place on the Bronx River Parkway July 11.

What should you do if you see a wrong way driver? Below is advice from an attorney who spends a lot of time on such things:

• Get to the shoulder and stop. • If you can’t get to the shoulder, slow down and attempt to safely stop your vehicle by pulling to the right. • Sound your horn. • Put on your lights and flash the high beams. • Call 9-1-1. • Before getting in the car wear your seat belts. • Drive in the right hand lane of travel on the Interstate. • When passing or coming to the crest of a hill look ahead for a wrong-way driver making sure the lane is clear. • Assume when in the left hand lane of a divided highway that you may come upon a wrong-way driver. • When driving on a divided highway stay vigilant and pay attention to what is ahead of you. Avoid allowing distractions to take your attention off the road ahead.

2 thoughts on “Highway Robbery: Westchester’s Wrong Way Accidents- update

  1. Sure, more signs are needed. But if a person is drunk or otherwise mentally impaired, they may not see or heed the signs. What is also needed is a video cam system linked to an alarm system that will alert police and other drivers that a vehicle has just entered the highway from the wrong direction. And though it might be costly, anything that saves lives is a no-brainer.

  2. If you drive the Taconic upstate you will find that, at a few entrances, there are Wrong Way signs posted, signs that a person will see if he or she gets on the highway going the wrong way and lives long enough to see the signs. At most entrances, however, there are no signs.

    The Taconic at that point has only two lanes in each direction, with a broken line between them. The other part of the highway may be hidden by the landscaped median, and thus a driver who is unfamiliar with the Taconic may well think that he or she is turning onto a two-way road, since, around there, the layout of the Taconic is not that different from that of a significant, local, two-way road.

    Far better signage is needed, but no sign will stop a person who is drunk and/or high on drugs from doing whatever he or she will do and perhaps not even know that he or she is doing, to the detriment of so many.

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