A Community Remembers the Hance Girls

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Floral Park Sisters Die In Fatal Car Crash

A family’s drive home from an upstate camping trip turned tragic July 26 when a minivan traveling the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway slammed head on into an SUV. The crash killed eight people, including four children, three of whom lived and attended school in Floral Park. All three occupants of the SUV were killed too, the driver, Guy Bastardi; his father, 81-year-old Michael Bastardi; and a Bastardi family friend, 74-year-old Daniel Longo.

Diane Schuler, 36, the driver of the minivan, reportedly called her brother at some point Sunday afternoon to say she wasn’t feeling well. Warren Hance of Floral Park, according to published reports, told his sister to pull over.

But it was too late.

The crash took Schuler’s life along with the life of Schuler’s 2-year-old daughter, Erin, and three nieces, Emma, Alyson and Kate Hance, ages 8, 7 and 5, all of Floral Park. Schuler’s 5-year-old son, Bryan, survived the crash and remains hospitalized.

Warren and Jackie Hance and the Schuler family are struggling with the tragic and sudden loss, as are friends and neighbors in the close-knit village.

“Words cannot describe this horrific tragedy. On behalf of the Floral Park community, I extend deepest sympathies to the families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Floral Park Mayor Kevin Greene said.

A wake was held for the Hance girls as well as their aunt and cousin, Diane and Erin Schuler, Wednesday, July 28 at Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home where hundreds came to pay their respects. A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Floral Park the next morning, Thursday, July 30.

In lieu of flowers, the families ask that donations be made to the Hance-Schuler Family Foundation, located at 49 Locust Street, Garden City, NY 11530.

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