Family of Kokomo couple killed in 2013 Seattle crash settles lawsuit for $13 million
SEATTLE, Wash. — The family of a Kokomo couple who died after being struck and killed by a habitual drunk driver in Seattle settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $13 million.
Dennis and Judy Schulte, both well known in the Kokomo community, had moved to Seattle in 2013 to be closer to their son, Dan. On March 25, 2013, they were crossing the street with their daughter-in-law and 10-day-old grandson when a car driven by Mark Mullan hit them.
Dennis and Judy Schulte were pronounced dead at the scene. Their daughter-in-law and grandson, who were also hit, survived but suffered live-altering injuries.
Judy Schulte, 68, was a retired guidance counselor at Northwestern High School. Dennis Schulte, 66, taught math and served as an assistant wrestling coach at Western High School.
Mullan’s blood-alcohol content was .22, police said, nearly three times the legal limit. He had been on probation and his license was suspended. He was supposed to have an ignition interlock device installed in his truck.
The Schulte family filed a $45 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Seattle, claiming officials were negligent in keeping track of Mullan, who had five previous drunk driving arrests. The family contended that, had Mullan been properly supervised, he would not have been behind the wheel on the day of the crash.
The city settled the lawsuit for $13 million, with $6.5 million coming from the city and the rest coming from insurance carriers, according to KCPQ.
The city of Seattle released a statement about the decision to settle the case out of court:
“This case presents a profound human tragedy that no family should have to endure. Seattle Municipal Court and its Probation Services Division recognize the devastating losses the Schulte family has experienced as a result of Mark Mullan’s decision to drink and drive. Despite the City’s supervision of Mr. Mullan, he made a tragic choice with horrendous consequences. The City and the city’s insurers have reached a settlement agreement with the Schulte family regarding the civil lawsuit against the City and Mr. Mullan. This compromise resolution will allow the City, its insurers and the Schulte family to avoid the uncertainty of trial.”
Mullan ultimately pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
After the death of his parents, Dan Schulte pushed for a reexamination of DUI laws in Washington state. Gov. Jay Inslee eventually signed a bill that makes an individual’s fourth DUI offense a felony, KCPQ reported.