On Anniversary Of DUI Crash In Seattle, Memorial Walk Held To Honor Victims
It was one year ago that repeat drunk driver Mark Mullan crashed into a family crossing a street in north Seattle, killing Judy and Dennis Schulte and critically injuring their daughter-in-law, Karina, and newborn grandson, Elias.
The tragedy prompted the Washington Legislature to pass tougher drunk driving laws.
On the anniversary of the crash on Wednesday, a crowd gathered for a walk and rally in memory of Judy and Dennis Schulte.
The walk began at Top Pot Doughnuts in the Wedgwood neighborhood and ended at Eckstein Middle School, near the scene of the crash. Speaking at the rally was Judy and Dennis Schulte's son, Dan.
His life changed forever a year ago when he received a call at work, telling him there had been an accident. When he arrived at the hospital, he found out his parents, who were visiting from Indiana, had been killed, and his wife and 10-day old son were in grave condition.
His wife, Karina, and son, Elias, suffered brain and other injuries.
On Wednesday, neighbors, friends and supporters walked alongside Dan Schulte. His wife was pushed along in a wheelchair, and his son rode in a stroller. They all stopped at the corner where the crash took place and observed a moment of silence. Karina put her head down, and cried.
In a Web post on the Caring Bridge website Feb. 4, Dan Schulte wrote that his wife was finally home "relearning to walk and talk and do many daily tasks" although she does not, he wrote, walk or talk like her previous self.
His baby, Elias, meanwhile, has serious vision impairment and will have another surgery soon to repair the membrane between his skull and brain.
The man who plowed his truck into the Schulte family was Mark Mullan. Not only was he a repeat drunk driver. At the time of the crash, he was on probation for a DUI and was supposed to have installed an ignition interlock device on his truck.
He has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The memorial walk and rally was the first of a number of event planned in north Seattle as part of what’s called Safe Roads Awareness Week. In addition to presentations drawing attention to the dangers of drunk driving, there will be events highlighting distracted driving prevention, safe speeds and the importance of cars sharing the road with bicycles.