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August 6, 2009 - Victims' Kin Set to Sue Drunk Driver's Family

The family of two Yonkers men killed by a drunk-driving mom are preparing to sue her estate, their lawyers said yesterday.

One of the lawyers ripped relatives of Diane Schuler -- who died in the horrific wrong-way crash along with seven others -- saying, "It's inconceivable, from my vast experience as a lawyer, that nobody in the deceased driver's family was aware that she had a problem."

Schuler had the equivalent of 10 drinks in her bloodstream, more booze in her stomach and had just smoked pot before she crashed on the Taconic Parkway, authorities have said.

"In my opinion, there's a strong fragrance of criminality," said a lawyer for relatives of dead father and son Michael and Guy Bastardi, whose SUV was hit by Schuler's minivan head-on July 26.

"I say that because it's hard for me to believe that the family did not know that this woman had an alcohol or a drug problem. This could not have manifested itself all of a sudden, out of the clear, blue sky that Sunday morning."

The families' lawyer, who spoke after the Westchester County DA's office briefed Bastardi kin on the crash, said, "It appears that there will be a civil suit" against Schuler's estate.

Schuler's husband, Daniel, has hired a criminal defense lawyer, who has scheduled a press conference today.

Authorities have said they do not expect to charge anyone in the case.

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