Remember the terrifying incident of repeat drunk driver, Mark Mullins, plowing his pickup truck into the family crossing the street in the Seattle neighborhood of Wedgewood. The DUI crash killed both grandparents, Dennis and Judy Schulte, and critically injured their daughter-in-law, Karina Schulte, and newly born grandson, Elias Schulte.
This past Thursday, 51-year-old Mark Mullins pleaded guilty to all five criminal charges filed against him; 2 counts of vehicular homicide (DUI), 2 counts of vehicular assault (DUI), and failure to comply with court ordered installation of an ignition interlock device. Originally, Mullins plead not guilty to the DUI charges, however, he changed his plea to guilty in order to take advantage of a lower sentencing recommendation by the State. State prosecutors have made a recommendation of 18 years of prison for Mullins’ DUI charges, a term too short and unjust for Dan Schulte, husband to Karina and father to Elias, who had hoped for a sentence of life in prison.
During the court disposition, Dan Shulte expressed his feelings on Mullins changing his plea to guilty, “While nothing can undo the damage to our family created by Mr. Mullan’s destructive choice to drive while intoxicated, we’re relieved that he’s decided to accept responsibility for his actions.”
Mark Mullins has had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse. In the early 1990’s, Mark was arrested three times for DUI, and twice for DUI in 2012. Allegedly Mark has had an addiction to heavy drugs, such as cocaine, of which cost him his marriage and job as an electrician. His ex-wife claimed court ordered DUI education classes and alcohol sobriety programs were ineffective for Mark as he could only stay sober for 60 days until binging again.
“I hope he gets the treatment that he needs, so that when he does get out, that this doesn’t happen again,” said Marilyn Schulte, sister to Dan, who stood by her brother’s side during the court proceedings.
Mark Mullins is due back in court on November 15th for sentencing where the judge may follow the State’s recommendation of 18 years in prison or the judge could impose a longer sentence.
Fortunately for Dan Schulte, his family’s health continues to improve in big ways. Karina, who suffered a severe stroke as a result of the accident, is now able to walk, recognize people, and communicate with limited speech. Karina is still undergoing rehab to work on speech. Baby Elias’s recovery has been miraculous as he is acting normal for his age but still suffers from limited vision. Baby Elias is scheduled for a second brain surgery early next year.
Written by S.O