North Seattle

Man turns anger into action after family struck by alleged drunk driver

Man turns anger into action after family struck by alleged drunk driver
SEATTLE -- Every day on his way home, Dan Schulte passes the Wedgwood crosswalk where his wife, newborn, and parents were struck by an alleged drunk driver. He said he was numb when he found out what happened, but now he's determined and angry -- and he's going to trying to turn his anger into action.

"I'm a different person," Dan Schulte said.

The tragedy on a March afternoon walk wiped out the life Dan Schulte knew. Days are now filled with doctors appointments after a driver slammed into his family, killing his parents and severely injuring his wife Karina and 10-day-old son Elias.

"He has a shunt in his head that drains fluids," Schulte said.

Elias is now 3 1/2 months old and doing better than doctors projected. But they might not know for years if he'll fully recover from his brain injury.

"My wife, when she sees him, she lights up," Schulte said.

Schulte brings the baby to see mom almost daily at the Rehabilitation Center where she's slowly recovering from brain damage, fractures, torn ligaments and a stroke.

"She still has a long ways to go but she's talking quite a bit more and says (Elias)' name," Schulte said.

Schulte admits he's mad at Mark Mullan, the 50-year-old repeat drunken driver now charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving. Charging papers say Mullen's breath alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

"I guess I'm not convinced that my anger should be focused just on him," Schulte said.

He's trying to target that anger in a direction that could make a difference, making laws that will deter people from drinking and driving.

"I feel like people drink and drive and think they'll probably be OK with it," Schulte said.

Lawmakers have reached out to Schulte, who says he now wants more enforcement to keep repeat offenders off the road.

"There's no crime that I can think of that's more preventable than this," he said. "We just have to have the right laws, stronger laws and then we have to enforce them."

Schulte hopes to prevent other families from suffering the same fate. He wears a wrist band nurses gave him that reads 'Ferza y Animo."

"Strength and encouragement," Schulte said.

It's taken a lot of strength and encouragement to make it through this tragedy, but he plans to remove the band when his wife returns home. Karina still can't walk but Schulte and doctors are optimistic that will happen. He thinks she'll come home in a few months, but there's still a lot of uncertainty.