Driver in wreck that killed pedestrians had 2 DUI arrests
Two people were killed and a young woman and 10-day-old infant were clinging to life after a pickup ran into a group of pedestrians crossing a busy street near Nathan Eckstein Middle School.
Seattle Times staff reporters
The 50-year-old man arrested for allegedly driving his pickup into a group of pedestrians near Eckstein Middle School on Monday, killing two people and leaving a woman and her infant clinging to life, has at least two drunken-driving arrests, according to court documents
Mark W. Mullan, 50, was booked into the King County Jail Monday evening for investigation of vehicular homicide, according to jail logs.
Seattle Municipal Court records show Mullan, who is active in youth baseball, was arrested on Dec. 26 in Seattle for DUI and again on Jan. 14 in Snohomish County. Washington State Patrol records indicate he was driving the same vehicle — a black Chevrolet pickup registered in his name — when he was arrested in December. That crime involved a hit-and-run and property damage as well, according to citation information.
Brad Benfield, who oversees vehicle licensing at the state Department of Licensing, said Mullan was driving with a suspended driver’s license.
A review of Seattle municipal-court records indicates Mullan has a long history of traffic violations dating back to a citation for inattentive driving in 1991, a red-light violation in 1997 and speeding citations in 2001, 2003 and 2010.
Monday’s accident horrified witnesses who reported seeing bodies thrown into the air. Killed were a man and woman, 66 and 68.
Relatives identified them as Judy and Dennis Schulte. They are believed to be the in-laws of the woman, 33, who, along with her 10-day-old baby, was injured in Monday’s accident. Both were listed in critical condition Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center.
The Schultes had made arrangements to live part time in Seattle to be close to their son, daughter-in-law and grandchild.
“They’d been waiting for that grandbaby for years,” said Judy Schulte’s sister, Susan Morton, of Cottonwood, Minn. “They were just magnificent people. It’s a terrible loss.”
According to Susan Morton’s husband, Steve Morton, the Schultes had purchased a home a few blocks from their son’s house about a month ago. They planned to spend six months of the year with their son, his wife and their first grandchild and the other half with their daughter in Indianapolis.
Steve Morton said that the younger couple, Daniel and Karina Ulriksen-Schulte, had been married for a few years. Karina, who is from Chile, is a pediatric nurse and Daniel works as a program coordinator for a public-relations business.
“They were a true match”
Mike Fletcher, a reporter at the Kokomo Tribune, said Dennis Schulte was his high- school math teacher. He said Schulte also coached football and wrestling.
“He was a really super guy who cared about his students,” Fletcher said.
The Schultes taught for about two decades at separate rural schools about seven miles apart outside Kokomo.
“They were a true match in terms of their personality, in what was important to them and the way they treated people,” said Bob Jarrett. “Neither one of them had a mean bone in their body.”
Jarrett, who coached and taught with Dennis Schulte at Western High School, said, “Kids who he coached have been calling me all morning. They’re hurting.”
Ryan Snoddy, superintendent of Northwestern Schools, where Judy Schulte had been a guidance counselor and teacher, said even after she retired in 2008 she came back to the school to help on projects, including testing.
“She was a great lady who inspired a lot of kids,” he said. “Judy and Dennis were doing what they loved, which is spending time with their family. To have this kind of tragedy just really takes the breath out of you.”
Suspect “struggled with the bottle”
At the accident scene yesterday, police led a distraught Mullan away in handcuffs. Police said he stopped after the accident and was cooperative.
At one point, Mullan sat on the curb, his head in his hands, with sheet-covered bodies in the roadway just a few yards away. A police officer stood nearby.
His sister-in-law, Megan Mullan, said the family was heartbroken at the news. She said she recognized his pickup in the news coverage.
“He had struggled and struggled with the bottle,” she said. “He’s a terrific guy, but he couldn’t stop drinking.
“We were all afraid he was going to kill himself, but never imagined this. We are all just sick, sick, sick over this,” she said.
She said Mullan was “a nice guy” and active in the North Seattle Pony League youth baseball association.
Department’s drug- and alcohol-impairment-detection officers interviewed Mullan at the scene, and one of them led him away in handcuffs.
In a statement issued last night, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said, “Today’s collision on our streets is shocking and tragic. My thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends.”
Infant given CPR
At the scene, the infant was administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation by Seattle Fire Department medics, according to witnesses. Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said the young woman, who was apparently carrying the infant, suffered a head injury.
Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the first responders were shaken by the scene.
“These are family members, fathers, mothers and they have kids, and it hits them hard,” he said. “You do your professional job while you’re treating these patients and taking care of the situation, but they’re people, too, and it affects them.”
The fire department dispatched multiple engines and rescue units to the intersection of 33rd Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75th Street at 4:16 p.m.
Lila Garner, a neighbor who said she was among the first on the scene, said she saw the bodies and thought there had been a shooting because of recent events across the country.
Garner said the younger woman, who apparently had been carrying the baby in an infant sling, was thrown with the child onto the curb.
Lacia Lynne Bailey, who lives at the intersection of the accident, said that the dead man and woman were the in-laws of the injured woman. Bailey said she had chatted with the group less than a minute before the accident. The group had marveled at Bailey’s newborn pet goat, she said.
“We were just bantering and joking and having a beautiful day,” Bailey said.
When the group was hit, Bailey said that as she called 911 on her cellphone she had to run into traffic to keep cars from running over the bodies.
“People fly down this street all the time”
Seattle police said the truck was traveling west on 75th and apparently drove into the pedestrians who were crossing the street northbound on 33rd Avenue Northeast. The accident occurred just in front of a sign saying, “End School Zone.”
It was not clear whether excessive speed was involved in the accident. Neighbors have complained about the busy thoroughfare.
Kirsten Haug found out what happened as she went to pick up her 14-year-old son from soccer practice at Eckstein. She said there aren’t enough stop signs on 75th. “People fly down this street all the time,” Haug said. “They’ll be going 50 miles per hour while I’m going 35.”
Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz said the mayor and department already have been talking about “increasing safety” along the street.
Haug said there was no marked crosswalk where the people were struck.
Detectives were seen examining damage to the right-front portion of a black Chevrolet Silverado pickup at the scene.
Haug said the witness speculated that the driver may not have seen the pedestrians as he came up over the crest of a hill on 75th as he approached the school.
Alexa Vaughn: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2515. Reporters Christine Clarridge, Lornet Turnbull and Emily Heffter contributed to this report.