The repeat drunken driver who killed a couple — and critically injured their infant grandson and his mother — was being led back to jail after receiving an 18-year prison sentence when he stopped to offer a quiet, private apology to Dan Schulte and Karina Ulriksen-Schulte.
Mark Mullan, 51, had said nothing in court as Schulte and others spoke of the grief and horror of the day when Mullan, drunk in the afternoon, drove his pickup into the family out for a stroll on a sunny March day in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.
Dennis and Judy Schulte, who had just bought a home in the neighborhood to be close to their son’s family, died on impact. Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and baby Elias were critically hurt.
Mullan was photographed sitting on a curb with sheet-draped bodies in the roadway.
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On Friday, Mullan appeared to listen carefully while Schulte described the grief of losing his parents and the agony his wife has endured in her long and ongoing recovery. He told the judge it’s possible Elias, now 8 months old, might be brain damaged and blind as a result of his injuries.
Mullan was given a chance to plead for leniency before Superior Court Judge Barbara Linde, but he declined. He saved a private apology for the Schultes.
Dan Schulte declined to comment on the sentence.
“Work is not the same, home life isn’t the same,” Schulte told the court Friday. “Karina will never likely be able to work as a nurse again at Seattle Children’s hospital.”
Judy Schulte, 68, and Dennis Schulte, 66, retired schoolteachers who also lived part time in Indiana, were out for a walk March 25 with Ulriksen-Schulte and Elias when Mullan’s pickup barreled into them on Northeast 75th Street.
They were 500 feet from Dan Schulte and Karina Ulriksen-Schulte’s home.
Mullan failed field sobriety tests and had a preliminary breath-alcohol level of 0.22 percent, nearly three times the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, shortly after the crash.
At the time, he was under the supervision of Seattle Municipal Court because of a previous drunken-driving arrest. He had defied a court order by failing to install an interlock device on his pickup.
Elias, born 10 days earlier, suffered skull fractures and a brain injury and underwent emergency surgery for injuries to his liver and intestines, according to court documents. Ulriksen-Schulte suffered a crushed pelvis and later developed blood clots that caused a stroke and led to brain damage.
Karina and Elias spent months in a hospital.
Elias was eventually released but is struggling with vision problems and will require additional surgery around his first birthday. Ulriksen-Schulte returned home this month.
Lisa Schulte, Dan Schulte’s cousin, said her dear friend Ulriksen-Schulte is not the same.
“Although the light is still there, it is dimmed,” she said. “This family has been robbed in so many ways.”
Marilyn Schulte said her parents’ deaths left a huge hole in her life. Judy and Dennis Schulte were committed to family and improving the lives of children in need. They even founded a food bank.
“My parents were really good people,” Marilyn Schulte said. “We don’t know what the future is … we will make something beautiful of this tragedy.”
On Oct. 3, Mullan pleaded guilty to two counts of alcohol-related vehicular homicide; two counts of alcohol-related vehicular assault; and violating the state’s ignition-interlock law.
Linde sentenced Mullan to a nearly 18-year prison sentence that the defense and prosecution agreed upon as part of a plea deal. Linde tacked on an additional four months for the ignition-interlock violation, a gross misdemeanor.
“He’s not a monster, he’s not a murderer,” defense attorney Jesse Dubow said in court. “Mark’s not here making excuses. His remorse was real, authentic.”
Mullan’s twin brother, Mike, and sister-in-law, Amy, apologized in court to the Schulte family.
“The brother I wish you could have known is the brother I grew up with in Lake City,” Mike Mullan said. “It has truly broken our hearts this is where our brother has ended up.”
Information from Seattle Times archives is included. Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.
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