Two longtime Howard County educators were killed Monday in Seattle by a suspected drunken driver.
Dennis and Judy Schulte were killed when Mark W. Mullan, 50, of Washington, drove his pickup into a group of pedestrians crossing a street near Eckstein Middle School in northern Seattle, the Seattle Times reported.
The couple’s daughter-in-law, Karina Ulricksen-Schulte, and 10-day-old grandson, Elias, also were struck and critically injured, Jack Broom of the Seattle Times said. The two remained in critical condition Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center.
Judy Schulte, 68, retired as director of guidance at Northwestern High School in 2008 after 19 years, and Dennis, 66, taught math at and retired from Western High School in 2006 after 33 years. Dennis also served as assistant coach for the wrestling squad and football team at Western.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Randy McCracken, superintendent of Western School Corp., said of the tragic news.
“Knowing both Dennis and Judy when I was at Northwestern, that was pretty tough,” he said. “[Dennis] definitely had a way of making kids understand the material.”
Even though they were both recently retired, the Schultes remained involved in their church and volunteered for the Buddy Bag program through Western, McCracken added.
McCracken also said the last time he spoke with the couple they said they were going to Seattle to visit their son, Dan, and his newborn and were considering buying a home in that city.
“Judy was a great individual who inspired a lot of kids to be the best they can be,” Northwestern Superintendent Ryan Snoddy said Tuesday.
“She always had the students’ best interest at heart.”
After retiring, Judy and Dennis volunteered their time for their respective schools and were well known throughout the community.
“They are just great role models for kids, and they will be missed,” Snoddy said.
Hugh Dwyer, Judy’s brother, said family members are preparing to travel to Seattle to be with the rest of the family through this tragedy.
“The family is doing the best we can,” he said Tuesday. “We’re pulling together. We have family members all over the country. We have several family members from Indiana and Chili flying to Seattle.
“Part of the tragedy is that Judy and Dennis went out there to be with family and enjoy their retirement and their first grandchild. They were in good health.”
Dwyer also said Judy had taught English at Kokomo prior to working at Northwestern.
“They both were the kinds of teachers that people recognized on the street or at a restaurant and would go up and say hello.”
As the family mourns the loss, Seattle police continue to investigate the crash.
The Seattle newspaper reported that Mullan, who has at least two prior drunken-driving arrests, was booked into the King County Jail Monday evening for investigation of vehicular homicide. As of Tuesday, he had not been charged.
Seattle Municipal Court records show Mullan, who is active in youth baseball, was arrested on Dec. 26 in Seattle for DUI and again on Jan. 14 in Snohomish County. Washington State Patrol records indicate he was driving the same vehicle — a black Chevrolet pickup registered in his name — when he was arrested in December. That crime involved a hit-and-run and property damage as well, according to citation information.
A review of Seattle municipal-court records indicates Mullan has a long history of traffic violations including a citation for inattentive driving in 1991, a red-light violation in 1997 and speeding citations in 2001, 2003 and 2010, the Seattle Times reported.