The man who is the husband, father, and son of the victims of a drunk driving accident in Seattle addressed the media for the first time on Tuesday.
Dan Schulte's parents, wife, and infant son were crossing the street when they were struck by a Seattle man believed to be driving under the influence.
Dan Schulte's parents, Judy and Dennis Schulte, were killed in the accident on March 25, 2013. Judy and Dennis had moved to Seattle from Indiana less than a week before their deaths to spend time with their new grandson.
"It was the best week of my life followed by the worst," Dan Schulte said.
Dan Schulte offered updates on his family and called for tougher drunk driving laws.
"This can happen to anyone," Dan Schulte said, "and it shouldn't."
Dan Schulte said his wife, Karina, suffered a stroke the day after the accident. She is conscious and recognizes her husband, but can't speak. It's unclear whether she'll ever communicate normally again.
Elias is now able to eat from a bottle after forgetting how to eat. The infant may lose his vision as a result of the accident.
Although his parents are gone and the two loves of his life are still in dire straits, Schulte finds strength with the sister at his side, and the resilience of such a strong little boy.
"When I see little Elias, I just want to have hope for the future," he said.
Schulte said what happened was no accident. It was preventable, and he asked people to "pledge not to drink and drive."
Police arrested Mark W. Mullan, 50, after an accident in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood, where he was allegedly driving under the influence when his truck struck four pedestrians, killing two and seriously wounding Karina and Elias Schulte.
Court documents showed Mullan had a preliminary breath test showed a blood alcohol level of .22, almost three times the legal limit.
The Washington Department of Licensing confirmed that Mullan was driving without a valid driver's license at the time of the accident.
Mullan pleaded not guilty on five charges and is being held on $2.5 million bail.
Schulte took time at Tuesday’s press conference at Seattle Children’s Hospital to call for tougher drunk driving laws.
“It hit our family harder than most, but it can happen to anyone. We just want to say it shouldn't be happening to anyone.”
Shortly after the crash, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed mandatory ignition interlock for anyone arrested for DUI. He demanded longer sentences for drunk driving convictions and a 10-year alcohol ban for third time offenders. A tentative agreement reached in Olympia, however, watered that down a bit. Under the plan, there would be longer sentences, and a fourth DUI, instead of a fifth, would be considered a felony. Only repeat offenders will have to get interlocks, but those who do will be required to prove to a court that the device has actually been installed.
Amy Ezzo of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that is an important step forward.
“We’re filling in one gap in the law. Making sure they get an interlock installed is key. This is one of the effective avenues for doing that.”