Family of Slain Indiana Couple Settles with Seattle for $13M

July 16, 2018

The family of a central Indiana couple who died after a repeat drunk driver struck them in Seattle has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the West Coast city for $13 million.

The family of Dennis and Judy Schulte settled the lawsuit with Seattle in April after an appeals court denied the city’s motion for summary judgment. The lawsuit filed by the family in October 2013 alleged that Mark Mullan wouldn’t have been driving the day he fatally struck the elderly couple if he’d been under proper supervision after violating his probation from a recent drunken driving case, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

The Schultes had just moved to Seattle from Kokomo, Indiana, to be closer to their children and grandchildren when Mullan hit them as they crossed a street in March 2013. Their daughter-in-law and her 10-day-old son were injured but survived.

Mullan, who has five prior drunken driving arrests, had a blood-alcohol content about three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. He was on probation from a recent case, his license was suspended and he was supposed to have installed an ignition interlock device in his truck.

The family filed a $45 million claim against Seattle before following with the wrongful death suit, alleging gross negligence by the probation officer for failing to supervise Mullan more closely.

The city said it believed its probation counselors acted appropriately in supervising Mullan, but the lawsuit presented significant risk to the city, leading officials to choose a settlement.

Mullan was sentenced to 18 years in prison for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.

The case prompted calls for tougher drunk driving laws in Washington, with Gov. Jay Inslee in 2013 signing a law requiring anyone suspected of a second impaired driving offense to face mandatory arrest and have an interlock device installed on their vehicle within five days of being charged.

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