Mom who lost 3 daughters in Taconic crash is pregnant
What do you do when all three of your daughters are killed in horrific car crash and the driver evidently at fault happens to be your sister-in-law?
In the case of Jackie Hance and her husband, Warren, you have another child.
Nearly two years after her children died in a head-on collision that killed a total of eight people on the Taconic Parkway in Westchester County, N.Y., Hance is speaking out for the first time about her paralyzing grief and her current pregnancy with a first-person article in Ladies’ Home Journal. The writer who collaborated with her on the story, Janice Kaplan, was in the studio to speak with TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Wednesday.
The couple’s decision to have another child was set into motion because a friend of a friend knew a fertility doctor in Manhattan who was familiar with how Hance lost her three daughters: Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Katie, 5. Following Katie’s birth, Hance had her tubes tied, so she decided to undergo in vitro fertilization after being contacted by the doctor.
The couple’s child is due this fall.
Message in a dream
“I’d had a dream that I was standing in heaven and I could see Emma, Alyson and Katie through these big gates,’’ Hance writes in Ladies’ Home Journal. “God would not let me inside the gates. He said that I had been given a gift from that doctor and I had to use his gift before I could be with my babies. So, almost in a daze, I told the doctor I wanted to try to get pregnant, never expecting it to work.
“I got pregnant the very first time.’’
While the couple awaits their new baby, Jackie admits in the article that she is cautiously optimistic.
“I want to be excited, but I know how random life can be, and how unfair,’’ she writes. “However much we try to protect our children, the worst can happen.’’
Hance had two rounds of drug injections and egg retrieval, and the resulting embryos were frozen. She admits that even though she was undergoing the procedures, the thought of conceiving a child still seemed distant. Many of her friends had suggested to her that she and her husband have another child to give themselves a future, but it took time for that to sink in.
Video: Family of crash victims speaks out (on this page)
“Even though I’d gone through the process, I wasn’t in a place where I could seriously think about having another child,’’ Hance says in an article cowritten with Janice Kaplan. “I’d taken my friends’ advice and followed through on the doctor’s generous offer as if in a trance. It was just something to do, a way to keep my mind occupied.’’
It was the couple’s attempt to move forward with their lives after an event that has fractured the relationships of the survivors. On July 26, 2009, Hance’s sister-in-law, Diane Schuler, drove the wrong way down the Taconic Parkway for about two miles before her minivan collided with an SUV, killing herself, her daughter, Hance’s three daughters, and the three men in the other car – Michael Bastardi, 81, his son, Guy, 49, and friend Daniel Longo, 74. The only survivor was Schuler’s son, Bryan, who is now 7.
Story: Family of wrong-way driver’s victims fires back
Toxicology reports from the accident revealed Schuler had a blood-alcohol level of .19, more than twice the legal limit of .08 in New York. Traces of THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, were also in her system, and a vodka bottle was found in the wreckage.
The person Jackie has once considered “the most responsible person I knew’’ was now the one implicated in the death of her three children.