by: Jeff Dubois Updated:
SEATTLE - The man accused of killing two pedestrians while driving drunk in Wedgwood last March has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide, assault and DUI charges.
Mark Mullan, 50, has been held on $2.5 million bail since last March. He initially pleaded not guilty, but King County prosecutors notified KIRO 7 that Mullan would appear at an unexpected hearing Thursday morning.
Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to a sentence of a 18 years in prison for two counts of vehicular homicide, DUI and two counts of vehicular assault, DUI.
Mullan's sentencing is scheduled for November 15.
Prosecutors say Mullan was driving drunk when he crashed into Dennis and Judy Schulte.
They were killed while crossing the street with their daughter-in-law, Karina Schulte, and infant grandson, Elias, who were both severely injured.
They're both doing better, but Karina Schulte has to re-learn how to eat, walk and talk.
The only emotion from Mullan came as the judge read his statement of guilt.
"And I was under the influence of alcohol. While I was driving, I hit four people who were legally crossing the street," it read.
While Mullan admitted his crimes, Dan Schulte and his sister listened--but were thinking of their parents.
"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," Dan Shulte said in court.
While the 18 years Mullan will spend in prison is less than the life sentence Dan and Marilyn Schulte wanted, they said they hope he makes the best of his time in prison.
"(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.
Asked about his wife and son, Dan Schulte said Elias is acting more and more like a normal baby every day, but still has very limited vision and will have another brain surgery early next year.
His wife, Karina, is improving as well.
"She's starting to walk more and talk more, and she's making a big recovery," said Dan Schulte.
But she still has severe brain trauma from a stroke she had while in the hospital right after the crash. Karina Schulte sees her son daily, knows who people are, but can't speak very well and is still in a rehabilitation center.
Since the crash, the City of Seattle has announced major safety changes for Northeast 75th Street, where the crash happened.
Engineers are considering re-working the road layout, adding bike lanes, and improving the crosswalk at the crash site.
Prosecutors say the crash last March wasn't the first time Mullan was caught driving drunk.
In fact, he was being monitored under an order from Seattle Municipal Court because of a previous drunken-driving arrest.
That led the Schulte family to file a $45 million lawsuit against the city in August.
They claim the city should have done more to keep Mullan off the road.
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