(FLORAL PARK, N.Y.) -- Jackie Hance, who lost all three of her daughters in a horrific wrong-way crash on the Taconic Parkway in 2009, was seen last week smiling outside her Floral Park, N.Y., home just two weeks before she is to deliver a new baby.
Though she did not talk to reporters, Hance’s neighbors told the New York Post, “We’re all there for Jackie right now.”
“It’s such a special time,” said one. “We just want this to turn out OK. She’s been through so much. The whole family has. They deserve some joy.”
Hance, 40, announced in a story that appeared last summer in the magazine Ladies Home Journal that she was pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
Hance’s daughters — Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Katie, 5 — were returning from an upstate camping trip with their aunt, Diane Schuler, and Schuler’s two young children when a drunk Schuler sped the wrong way at 70 mph for two miles along the Taconic Parkway before colliding with an SUV, killing eight people.
Toxicology reports later revealed that Schuler, 36, had a blood alcohol level of .19 — the equivalent of 10 shots of vodka — and a high level of THC from smoking marijuana.
Just minutes before the deadly crash, Hance’s daughter, Emma, had called her mother to say, “Something’s wrong with Aunt Diane.” That was the title of a documentary on the accident that aired several months ago on HBO.
Hance did not participate in the film, but told Ladies Home Journal that her decision to have another child came to her in a dream.
“Parenting is not something you can ever let go of, even if your children are gone,” Hance wrote.
She said that friends persuaded her to have another child as a way of coping with the “torture” that she has felt since her girls died, unable even to cook because it reminds her of her daughters’ excitement at mealtime.
Eight people in all were killed in the crash: Guy Bastardi, 43, his father Michael Bastardi, 81, and a family friend, Daniel Longo, 72, as well as the three Hance girls, Schuler and her 2-year-old daughter Erin. The only survivor was Schuler’s son Bryan, then 5, who now lives with an ocular nerve impairment.
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