Story Summary

Driver strikes 4 pedestrians, leaving 2 dead, 2 injured

Shortly after 4 p.m. on March 25 a man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after striking four people crossing the street at 33rd Avenue NE and NE 75th Street in the Wedgewood neighborhood. Two of the pedestrians were pronounced dead at the scene and the two other victims, one of whom is a 10-day-old infant, were transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

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SEATTLE — Mark Mullan, who plowed his pickup truck into a family in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, killing two people and seriously injuring two others, was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison.

mullan“My parents were murdered, run over by this man when he was drunk and behind the wheel of his large truck,” said Dan Schulte at Mullan’s sentencing hearing.

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Dan Schulte and his wife, Karina, in court for the sentencing hearing Friday.

Mullan, who has several DUI convictions in the past, already pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

Last March, he struck the Schulte family while they were crossing NE 75th Street in the Wedgwood neighborhood with his pickup truck. In an instant,  two grandparents, Dennis and Judy Schulte, were killed and their daughter-in-law, Karina, and her  10-day-old son, Elias, were seriously injured. Mullan was drunk at the time,  more than three times the legal limit.

“Work is not the same any more, home life is not the same anymore, it all has a dark cloud over it,” said Schulte. “I hope I am able to rise above it and meet the next day with open arms, but it’s incredibly difficult to transcend this horror and sustain it for very long.”

Karina Schulte, just recently released from the hospital, also attended Mullan’s sentencing, in a wheelchair, next to Dan. She didn’t speak, but many family members talked to the judge about how difficult life has been since Dennis and Judy Schulte were killed, along with the ongoing medical challenges of Karina and little Elias, who suffered permanent brain damage and impaired vision in the crash.

Since the crash, Dan and his sister Marilyn have pushed for  tougher drunken driving laws in Washington state.

Mullan had five prior DUIs. He also had a suspended  license and was on probation for drunken driving when he crashed into the Schulte  family.

He didn’t speak at his sentencing, but his twin brother, Mike, expressed condolences to the Mullan family on his behalf.

It was an emotional time in court for everyone involved, even Judge Barbara Linde, who said, “This is an almost unbearably tragic and horrific event and so the court well appreciates the enormity of this.”

Local News
11/15/13

Driver in devastating Seattle DUI crash gets 18 years

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SEATTLE — Mark Mullan, who plowed his car into a family, killing two people and  seriously injuring two others, was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison.

Mullan, who has several DUI convictions in the past, already pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Last March, he struck a  family crossing NE 75th Street in Wedgwood with his pickup truck. In an instant,  two grandparents, Dennis and Judy Schulte, were killed and their daughter-in-law, Karina, and her  10-day-old son, Elias, were seriously injured. Mullan was drunk at the time,  more than three times the legal limit.

“We’re relieved he’s decided to accept  responsibility for his actions,” Dan Schulte said at Mullan’s plea hearing. Schulte was at work when his  parents, wife and son were in the accident.

Schulte has called the last six months a roller coaster of  emotions. Karina, was badly hurt and was in a rehab facility after suffering  a stroke. She recently returned home. Elias is also back home, but faces major surgery in a few months.

“Elias is acting mostly like a normal baby,” Schulte said. “There are some  questions about his vision, it seems to be very limited at this point.”

Since the crash, Dan and his sister Marilyn have pushed for  tougher drunk driving laws in Washington state.

Mullan had five prior DUI’s. He also had a suspended  license and was on probation for drunk driving when he crashed into the Schulte  family. The plea agreement will put him behind bars for the next 18 years.

“My hope is that while he is in jail, he gets the treatment  that he needs so that when he does get out this won’t happen again,” Marilyn  Schulte said

schulte1SEATTLE — Karina Schulte, who was hit and seriously injured with her newborn baby by a drunken driver in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood in March, was able to return home Tuesday — 225 days after the accident.

Karina’s father-in-law and mother-in-law were both killed in the same incident as they were walking across the NE 7thth Street street in Wedgwood. The driver, Mark Mullan, has pleaded guilty.

Dan Schulte, Karina’s husband, said Karina was in a rehab facility after suffering a stroke. The baby, Elias, returned home earlier, but faces major surgery in a few months, he said.

If you would like to give Dan and Karina a little help during this huge time of adjustment, a meal train has been set up for the next month.  If you’re able, consider making or donating a meal for them while they adjust.

 

 

 

 

Local News
10/03/13

Guilty plea in deadly DUI crash that devastated a family

SEATTLE — Mark Mullan, the man accused of killing two people and seriously injuring two others, broke down in tears as he pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and other charges Thursday.

Mullan caused a lot of tragedy last March when he struck a family crossing NE 75th Street in Wedgwood with his pickup truck. In an instant, two grandparents, Dennis and Judy Schulte, were hit and Karina and her 10-day-old son, Elias, were seriously injured. Mullan was drunk at the time, more than three times the legal limit.

still“We’re relieved he’s decided to accept responsibility for his actions,” Dan Schulte said. Schulte was at work when his parents, wife and son were in the accident.

Schulte called the last six months a roller coaster of emotions. Karina, was badly hurt and remains in a rehab facility after suffering a stroke. Elias is back home, but faces major surgery in a few months.

“Elias is acting mostly like a normal baby,” Schulte said. “There are some questions about his vision, it seems to be very limited at this point.”

Since the crash, Dan and his sister Marilyn have pushed for tougher drunk driving laws in Washington state.

Mullan had five prior DUI’s. He also had a suspended license and was on probation for drunk driving when he crashed into the Schulte family. The plea agreement will put him behind bars for the next 18 years.

“My hope is that while he is in jail, he gets the treatment that he needs so that when he does get out this won’t happen again,” Marilyn Schulte said

The Schulte family is currently suing the city of Seattle for failing to supervise Mullan while he was on probation for drunk driving, and for not making sure he had the required interlock device installed in his truck, one of the many charges he plead guilty to on Thursday.

Local News
10/03/13

Man who killed 2, injured 2 in DUI crash pleads guilty

mullanSEATTLE — Mark Mullan, the man accused of killing two people and seriously injuring two others, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and other charges Thursday. He will serve between 14 and 18 years in prison.

Mullan signed a plea deal with King County prosecutors Thursday morning. Along with two counts of vehicular homicide, he also pleaded guilty to vehicular assault and violation of an interlock device law. In addition to his sentence, Mullan could serve more time if convicted on separate charges of a Snohomish County DUI charge and a probation violation charge.

Mullan hit four members of the Schulte family, killing Dennis and Judy and severely injuring a Karina and her 10-day-old son, Elias, on March 25 in the Wedgwood neighborhood. Dan Schulte, Dennis and Judy’s son, Elias’ father and Karina’s husband, was present for the plea.

Prosecutors said Mullan’s sentence includes a 24-month enhancement stemming from prior DUI convictions. Mullan was already on probation from a Dec. 25, 2012 DUI arrest at the time of the accident.

Many of those present, including Mullan, cried in the courtroom.

Local News
08/26/13

People react to changes on Seattle road

wedgwood2SEATTLE — Monday morning commuters are getting there first look at the new NE 75th Street in Wedgwood.

Over the weekend, crews re-striped the busy and dangerous road. The changes were spurred by the horrific accident on 75th street that took the lives of two people and led to a long recovery for a young family of three.

The Seattle Department of Transportation received over 300 letters and emails about a new road safety project. Over 150 people attended five public meetings. After months of scheming and debating, SDOT decided on this plan that it says satisfied the most people who call Wedgwood home.

The changes include two lanes of traffic, one going each way, a left turn lane, new marked crosswalks, bike lanes in both directions and, the biggest change, removing parking along the street.

Many, including area resident Allison Harris are happy to see the changes.

“I’m glad that the city is paying attention to the street right by a big school and trying to make it safer,” Harris said. “We’ll see if this helps.”

Jim Baldwin said what’s good for safety is good for the community.

“If you’re going across and somebody stops for you, it’s very easy for a car to come whipping around and it will put you in danger,” Baldwin said.

However, dozens of neighbors are also in the process of collecting signatures to amend what’s been done The biggest problem for some is the removal of the curbside parking on 75th. New traffic enforcement cameras are planned near Eckstein Middle School to keep people from speeding, officials said.

Local News
08/26/13

Drastic changes made to dangerous street

wedgwood2SEATTLE — Monday morning will reveal a number of changes recently made to NE 75th street in Wedgewood.

Hundreds called for change after a family of five was run over and two people were killed by an alleged drunk driver. Today, the Seattle Department of Transportation reveals its new changes to NE 75th street.

The street now has two lanes of traffic, one lane for each direction. There is a continuous left turn lane in the middle of the road. There are bike lanes on either side of the street. And, parking along the side of the road has been removed.

The majority of the neighbors living in the area like the changes. Some folks aren’t excited about the new changes and are starting the process of gathering signatures to bring parking back to the area.

More changes are still coming to the community including traffic enforcement cameras at Eckstein Middle School.

We will be live all morning featuring these new changes to this busy road.

SEATTLE — From tragedy there is now change on NE 75th Street in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.

SEATTLE — After Dennis and Judy Schulte were hit by an alleged drunk driver and killed while crossing the busy street last spring the Seattle Department of Transportation decided something needed to be done.

After meetings with the community SDOT decided on the new configuration.

One lane of traffic in each direction instead of two, new bike lanes on both sides, a marked crosswalk at 25th and a dedicated, continuous left turn lane.

Neighbors called for change and this is it.

wedgwood2“In general I think it’s good because I think the two lanes going east, I don’t think it was helping anything.  I think there was a lot of confusion whether it was two lanes or not, so I think having the dedicated left turn lane, I think it will be a good thing,” neighbor Tom Kuder said.

“When that back there was two wide we would just have so many cars going past our house and it’s awful. It was awful and loud,” neighbor Maddie McGriff said.

But not everyone is happy with the changes.

With the addition of the left turn lane and bike lanes, curbside parking had to go, except in front of Eckstein Middle School where the school bus stop and curbside parking will remain.

Jonathan Schultz says a lot of neighbors believe the city chose the wrong plan.

“One of them was to put parking lanes in instead of a turn lane.  I think most people in the neighborhood would think that’s the better idea. We don’t have anything.  We’ve got a whole bunch of people coming over tomorrow that won’t have any place to park,” neighbor Jonathan Schultz said.

Schultz and more than 50 of his neighbors are collecting signatures on a petition to change the configuration and bring back curbside parking.

Already cars that were once parked on 75th are now crowding neighborhood cross streets.

As one neighbor put it; parking is now a nightmare here.

But the city insists, the new configuration is what the majority of the neighbors wanted and provides the most safety for everyone.

“We also heard that parked cars along the corridor really inhibited visibility of cars and so by removing the parking and having the bike lane it improves the distance between travel vehicles and also pedestrians that are walking along the corridor,” SDOT spokesman Dong Ho Chang said.

Chang also says the new configuration will reduce the average speeds in this area.

The final change is still in the works.

The city will soon add school zone speed cameras in front of Ecksteain Middle School.

No word yet on when those cameras will be installed.

Local News
08/20/13

Tragedy spurs road safety changes in Wedgwood

SEATTLE — There have been more than 100 accidents along a one-mile stretch of northeast 75th since 2009. One of the most devastating happened in March, when Karina Schulte was hit as she tried to cross the street with her in-laws and newborn son. She and her son were seriously hurt. Her in-laws died.

schulte1Soon after, the city began holding community meetings to find out why the street was so dangerous.

“We had three engagement sessions with the community,” says traffic engineer Dongho Chang. “Some of the things we received was turning left was really stressful. And our collision data showed that was a concern.”

Speeding was also a concern. So was visibility, because of all the parked cars in the area. Crews will be making changes starting next week. There will now be one travel lane in each direction, and a center lane for left turns. Parking won’t be allowed except at Eckstein Middle School. Speed zone cameras will also go in at the school.

“What we found out was the speeds were almost 37 mph too high at a location where children are around.”

But even if those measures were in place, it might not have prevented the accident involving the Schultes. They were hit by a suspect who was on probation for drinking and driving at the time. An ignition interlock device had not been installed on his truck, even though he had received a fifth DUI arrest months before.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law last month to crack down on repeat offenders. And on Tuesday, the state’s DUI Task Force met in Olympia to discuss other ways to make our streets safer.

“Washington doesn’t have sobriety checkpoints,” says Shelly Baldwin of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “We know that they would be very effective at reducing fatality rates.”

Another idea discussed was allowing officers to file DUI reports electronically, so they don’t lose time away from patrols. Those ideas will continue to be discussed, so the task force can work toward its goals of zero deaths by 2030.

In the meantime, the city of Seattle will implement the engineering changes in the Wedgwood neighborhood. They hope to finish by Sept. 4, the first day of school.

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