City facing $45 million lawsuit in fatal DUI crash

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SEATTLE — Members of the Schulte family believe the city of Seattle is to blame for a suspected DUI accident in which a pickup truck hit and killed two elderly pedestrians — Dennis and Judy Schulte — and badly injured the couple’s  daughter-in-law, Karina, and 10-day-old grandson, Elias, in the Wedgwood neighborhood in March.


Dan Schulte shown with his wife, Karina, and their newborn son, Elias, in happier times. Both Karina and Elias were critically injured in the March 25 accident. Dan Schulte’s mother and father (not shown) were killed in the accident. (Photo: Schulte family)

The driver who hit them, Mark W. Mullan, was on probation and under supervision of Seattle Municipal Court after a Dec. 25, 2012, DUI arrest. The Schulte family says the city didn’t do enough to keep Mullan off the road, in particular making sure he had installed a court-ordered ignition interlock device in his pickup truck.

“Mr. Mullan was on his fifth DUI at this point in time.  He was an extreme danger to society and one of the things they do through the Department of Corrections on a state level is require a home visit within 10 days of release and at least two in-person contacts per month.  Had any of those been done, they would have realized he was not in treatment.  He was still driving the same vehicle he had been in without the interlock,” the family’s attorney, John Christensen, said.

This year’s new DUI legislation requires repeat offenders get an ignition interlock device installed within five days of an arrest.  A judge must set a follow-up court date where the driver has to show paperwork proving they complied.

“We can’t afford not to change these laws.  What we hope comes out of this is not only the Schulte family finds some closure but the legislative bodies enforce these laws a little more diligently,” said Christensen.

The city has 60 days to respond to the claim before it’s filed in court.  A spokesperson for the city would not comment on the case.

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  • Kit

    5th DUI? Wow, his license and vehicles should have been taken away from him before he ran this family down. He should have been in prison already!

  • sara

    I am very sorry for the loss of life, that is very sad. But sue the city? Come on where does it stop? Why not sue the car company for making the car or the alcohol company for making the alcohol? Better yet sue his mother for giving birth I am being totally sarcastic with my comments, but really where does it stop? Because some one has died does not mean there should be a pay out from the city! The only person responsible or liable is the one who was drinking and driveing not the city! A good example is if a person steals a car (the car is not even reported stolen yet) then goes out and runs over a adult couple, does the family of that couple get to go and sue the police department because the police department didn't catch them? No they don't! why? because the person that stole the car and was driving the car when the accident happened is the one who is responsible and liable! I sure the drunk driver with 5 under his belt doesn't have the 45 million to give up for these people that tragically lost their life but because someone dies does not mean there's a bonanza payout or a payout from any one except the one who is liable!
    So in other words WTF?
    When I moved to Tacoma I don't recall a sign saying that Tacoma is responsible or liable for anybody on the road, sidewalks, or in city who could possibly harm or kill me

    • LORI

      Sara and Kit— His license and vehicles should of been taken away-his ass should of been in jail after the 2nd DUI– suing I have always disagreed with but if the city, state feds would do their job this would of never happened. There has to be punishment for the courts not following thru with the laws. I am so sick of people loosing their lives to drunk drivers after they have been given chance after chance— Something has to wake up the drunks and the judges and if 45 million does it then happy for the family suffering and hopefully if will prevent other families from going thru the same grief—think about how you would feel if this was your family!!!!! No amount of money will bring back their family but maybe they will use the money to get the idiots off the road.

    • Judy glaser

      Agree! So is the city responsible for not having the resources to follow up on the DUI driver? oh because that would be a taxpayer fault for not voting that in? Maybe the lawyers because we've relaxed our probation rules in order to accomadate the DUI drivers that have to work to pay for their lawyers? and 45M? realistically no way it should be that high. Loss of income maybe.
      this is a get rich quick move plied on public pity.

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