Nine days after her deadly crash, Diane’s toxicology report revealed she had a blood-alcohol content of .19% – the equivalent of ten drinks and more than twice the legal limit – as well as a high blood level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. In sharp contrast to the toxicology report, Schuler had no known history of substance abuse or psychological problems and was generally known as a loving and stable wife and mother.
Nearly two years after the accident, THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE reveals previously unknown information about that day and sheds light on the unknown side of Diane. This wife and mother, who was also a cable TV executive, emerges in the film as a woman who strove to be perfect, often referred to as “supermom” by friends and family. As friend Sue Troccoli points out, “She seemed to be good at whatever she attempted…she was very good at her job, and she was a take-charge person, too.”
Beneath the “perfect” veneer, however, Diane had a tendency to hide whatever pain she experienced, both physical and psychological. Diane’s mother abandoned the family when she was just nine years old, leaving her with her father and three brothers. According to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Harold Bursztajn, such an event could be very traumatic for a young girl. It was obviously a wound that didn’t heal – since Diane had no contact with her mother, even as an adult – but one she never spoke about. As one friend explains, “She never complained about it [her mother leaving the family]. She never talked about it…almost like she wasn’t even there.”
In addition to exclusive interviews with family and friends – including Diane’s childhood friends, a co-worker and husband Daniel’s parents, who have never spoken out before – eyewitnesses, first responders, investigators and medical and psychiatric experts, the documentary draws on surveillance footage, family photos, news clips and expert testimony to explore events surrounding the crash. Piecing together that fateful day with a minute-by-minute retelling, the film seeks to understand how things could have gone so terribly wrong.
Just before the accident, Diane and her husband, Daniel, had been camping in upstate New York at Hunter Lake Campground with their two children and three nieces, ages two through eight. When the family left that morning, camp owner Ann Scott recalls thinking that nothing was amiss, saying, “[Diane] seemed sober to me.” Daniel left with their dog in his pickup truck, as previously planned, and Diane took the kids in her brother’s minivan, which she had borrowed for that purpose.