Not guilty plea for suspected drunk driver accused in fatal crash

Not guilty plea for suspected drunk driver accused in fatal crash »Play Video
Mark Mullan is seen in court with his lawyer April 11, 2013.
SEATTLE - A driver suspected of killing two pedestrians and critically injuring a young woman and the infant she was carrying pleaded not guilty Thursday to vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving.

The driver, Mark W. Mullan, 50, has a long history of DUI arrests and is being held on $2.5 million bail in the deadly crash.

Investigators say Mullan was drunk when he crashed into the three adults and the infant as they crossed NE 75th Street on the afternoon of March 25. Mullan told police he couldn't see the people due to the sun being in his eyes, according to court documents.

He entered his not guilty plea Thursday morning in King County Superior Court to two charges of vehicular homicide, two charges of vehicular assault and one count of reckless driving. If convicted of all the charges against him, Mullan could face 15 to 19 years in prison.

According to the police report, officers smelled alcohol on Mullan's breath and said he showed signs of severe impairment. Mullan admitted to officers a drink in the morning but a breathalyzer test registered a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, the report said.

 Judy and Dennis Schulte

Family and friends identified the victims as Dennis Schulte and his 68-year-old wife Judy Schulte. Their 33-year-old daughter-in-law Karina Schulte and their 10-day-old grandson Elias Jose were critically injured and remain in Harborview Medical Center.

Judy Schulte was an English teacher and guidance counselor who had led a campaign in local schools against drunk driving. Dennis was a retired teacher and coach. They worked together in schools in Indiana for decades, but just recently moved to Seattle to be closer to their son Dan and their grandson.

The day of the crash was the first time that Karina had ventured for a walk after giving birth to her son, and it was also the day her husband returned to work, according to court documents.

Court records show Mullan was arrested five times for DUI before the deadly March 25 crash.

A few months ago Mullan showed up drunk to court to deal with a previous DUI case. When he arrived in court, the prosecutor smelled alcohol on his breath and the judge forced him to take a breathalyzer.

Mullan's blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit and he was jailed on the spot. When he finally bailed out two weeks later, he was ordered to install an interlock device on his truck.

Mullan ignored the court order.