Guilty pleas entered by Mullan for Wedgwood DUI/vehicular homicides

At a hearing this morning at the King County Courthouse, Mark Mullan pleaded guilty to all charges against him for the DUI crash on March 25 that killed Judy and Dennis Schulte and severely injured Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and her newborn son, Elias.

Mullan was charged on April 11 with two counts vehicular homicide, two counts vehicular assault, and one count reckless driving. He entered a plea of not guilty at that time.

 

 

Under the plea deal, Mullan would face a range of 14-18 years in jail.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 15.

 

Dan Schulte and his sister, Marilyn, were at the hearing, and will speak to reporters after. We’ll add footage here when it becomes available.

Dan and Marilyn Schulte give a statement to the media after this morning's plea hearing. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg stands behind them.

Dan and Marilyn Schulte give a statement to the media after this morning’s plea hearing. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg stands behind them. Photo courtesy @joshtrujillo.

UPDATE: A statement from the King County Prosecutor’s office:

Guilty Plea in State v. Mark Mullan: Repeat drunk driver Mark W. Mullan pleaded guilty this morning as charged to four felony charges for a drunk driving collision that killed two grandparents and seriously injured their daughter-in-law and infant grandson in Seattle’s Wedgewood neighborhood on March 25. Mullan pleaded guilty to two counts each of Vehicular Homicide (DUI) and Vehicular Assault (DUI), and violation of an Ignition Interlock Device order. The collision killed Judy and Dennis Schulte. Their daughter-in-law Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and grandson Elias, who was 10 days old, were seriously injured are still recovering from their injuries. Mullan, 51, faces a sentence range of 14 to 18 years in prison, which includes a 24-month sentencing enhancement stemming from his prior conviction for drunk driving in Seattle Municipal Court. Prosecutors will recommend a top of the range sentence of 18 years in prison when Mullan is sentenced on November 15 at 1:45 p.m. before Judge Barbara Linde at the King County Courthouse.

“This heartbreaking case led to some overdue changes in the law, thanks in part to the courage of the family,” said Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney. “The defendant today pled guilty as charged to the top end of the sentencing range,” he added, “and the plea brings finality and closure to the case, and will keep the defendant in prison, and the public safer, for many years to come,” he said.

Satterberg along with other county prosecutors pushed for tougher sentences for vehicular homicide (DUI) in the 2012 legislative session. The Legislature approved a bill that doubled the standard range for vehicular homicide (DUI), making it equal to a sentence for manslaughter first degree. Under the old range, Mullan’s sentence would have been approximately 7 ½ to 9 ½ years instead of the 14 to 18 years that he faces today.

…everyone knows it’s WINDY…(and rainy)

As the lights in Ravenna Blog HQ gave a few flickers just before 5 PM, and we started hearing reports of power out in Wedgwood, we decided it was a good time to start a running weather post for the rest of the evening.

With that outage in Wedgwood, we’ve seen not one but TWO tweets about using a crankable radio to listen to the Husky Football game happening right now:

In Northeast Seattle so far, there is an outage in Wedgwood affecting ~3,000 customers, according to the Seattle City Light hotline (206-684-7400 should you need to report your own outage). If you’re curious about outages in the city, you can visit the Seattle City Light System Status page for more information (mobile link here).

UPDATE 5:30 PM: Latest Seattle City Light outage map update showing 10 outages city-wide, with 1107 customers affected. No Wedgwood on the map yet.

5:44 PM: Latest outage map tally is “Number of Outages: 14, Estimated Customers Affected: 7870,” which does not include the Wedgwood outage. We’re hearing now of an outage on 100th in Meadowbrook. Might be part of the Wedgwood outage, but we don’t know until the map is updated with that information.

5:50 PM: Only one outage showing up on the map for Northeast Seattle, at the moment:

6:00 PM: “Number of Outages: 16 Estimated Customers Affected: 7872”

6:12 PM: A post from Seattle City Light just now lists the major outages in Seattle. Here are the ones in our area:

North -Serving Ravenna, Bryant, View Ridge, Matthews Beach, Wedgwood -2,858 customers without power -Estimated time of restoration is 11 p.m. -Cause weather related (wind, rain, tree branches) -Boundaries: N – NE 106th St; E – Lake Washington; W – 8th Ave NE; S – NE 75th St.

The post also says that 20,000 customers are currently without power in Seattle.

6:30 PM: Outage map update! Here are the clusters of outages in Northeast Seattle:

Football_outage

 

7:13 PM: Seattle City Light saying now that the number of customers without power is down to 13,000. And the time of restoration for the Maple Leaf/Wedgwood outage has moved up to about 10 PM. Cause is given as “tree.”

8:45 PM: We’ve heard from a few people in the Wedgwood area of the outage say that power has been restored.

 

But before that, around 8 PM, about 46 customers between Matthews Beach and View Ridge lost power. Cause now given as equipment failure, with a restoration estimate time of 4 AM.

Sunday, 7:34 AM: Outage map showing only four outages left in Seattle, three of which are in Northeast Seattle. Only 10 customers total affected, 9 of which are directly north of the Sand Point Country Club area.

7:55 AM: Some weather stats from yesterday, courtesy a weather station in Bryant that we use for such information: 1.45 inches of rain fell yesterday, and the average wind speed was between 9 and 13 mph (with gusts up to 28 mph).

As the large cold front approaches and comes inland this evening, wind speeds are expected to climb — the data in our area suggests we’ll be seeing sustained wind speeds in the low- to mid-20 mph range from noon on (High Wind Watch). Gusts to 60 mph are also possible, especially between 7 PM and midnight.

So, get your laundry and dinner done early. And don’t forget to charge your wireless devices so you can revisit this post for more information.

8:03 PM: Rain coming down steadily now, and the wind has picked up. Seeing gusts now in the mid-20 mph range. Rain total for the day (at the Bryant weather station) at 0.33 inches, with most of it falling in the last hour.

So far, only one outage in Northeast Seattle to report, and even it’s one that’s been going since 2:51 PM: Ten customers just south of Penguin Park (NE 93rd Street and 38th Avenue NE). Estimated time of restoration is about 10 PM.

8:12 PM: And as soon as I added the above outage to the post, it disappeared off the outage map! The power of neighborhood news, everyone.

Teenager falls through skylight at Eckstein Middle School

At approximately 5:11 PM on Saturday, September 21, the Seattle Fire Department responded to a 911 call regarding a teenage boy who had fallen through a skylight on top of Eckstein Middle School.

Seattle schools security and Seattle Police Department officers also responded to the call, according to Seattle Fire PIO Kyle Moore and the SPD twitter feed.

A 13-year-old male was reported to have been climbing on the roof of the school with two other kids when he went through a skylight and fell 15-20 feet, according to the SPD.

The boy had loss of consciousness after the fall, but was transported by Seattle Fire Department personnel to a hospital in an alert and stable condition.

If/When we know more about the boy’s injuries and condition, we will update this post.

NE 75th Street Makeover Update: It’s DONE (UPDATES, PHOTOS)

The Seattle Department of Transportation crew that had been laying down “proto-lanes” on NE 75th Street finished up their work today. And it was not long after they’d put away their paint can that the SDOT Painting Truck Convoy rolled in to finish the job*.

NE75th_done

Above is a picture of NE 75th Street at about 23rd Avenue NE, taken at 10:15 PM on Friday night. It’s done.

NE75th_done_2

Here we’re looking west down NE 75th Street, from the same location.

NE75th_no_parking

Additionally, the no-parking-during-commutes parking signs were replaced with these no parking signs.

The “Wild West” has been tamed…or has it?

Drive around/Walk around/Bike around on it a bit, everyone, then let’s meet back here in the comments to talk about our experiences.

*UPDATE (Saturday morning): The roadway improvements are not *completely* finished, but the new lanes had been laid down as of last night. The era of driving two-by-two is over. This morning, a crew was spotted adding reflectors to the sides of the new left turn lane.

Early Saturday morning, an SDOT crew walks down NE 75th Street placing reflectors  along the sides of the new left turn lane. Photo by Adelina Starace.

Early Saturday morning, an SDOT crew walks down NE 75th Street placing reflectors along the sides of the new left turn lane. Photo by Adelina Starace.

UPDATE (Saturday afternoon): A truck/machine/thing was seen grinding the old yellow stripes off the middle of the road, east of 25th Avenue NE. Did not continue west of 25th, however. Monday’s job, perhaps.

UPDATE (Saturday evening): Valarie Bunn, Wedgwood historian extraordinaire, sent us some photos of the old lane lines being ground off the road earlier today.

Grinder erases dashes at 75th and 25th.8.24.2013

We’ll know for sure when the rest of the lane erasing is done in a couple days (and I’ll be sure to run out there with my camera and get some video), but it looks like the work is done by HAND.   Grinding out center line on 75th at 25th

The only female SDOT worker I’ve seen working on the improvements, and this is the job she’s doing. As my ancestors would say, “Uff da.”

Grind then smooth on 75th at 33rd with Schulte memorial

  And I believe the machine pictured above cleans up after the grinding equipment has done its job.

Grinding the dashes on 75th near 25th on 8.24.2013

UPDATE (Sunday morning): OMG they’re back at it again already.

Workers, cones, and signs were spotted near 20th Avenue NE around 7 AM. And around 9 AM, the grinding gear was spotted in the same location:

Makeover time is here: New NE 75th St lanes taking shape (PHOTOS)

With a goal of getting the new road configuration for NE 75th Street in by the first day of school (two weeks from today), it’s no surprise that the Seattle Department of Transportation has started preparing the Northeast Seattle arterial so quickly.

Some pictures from today (Wednesday):

NE75th_marking_lanes1

View down NE 75th Street, looking west towards the signaled intersection with 20th Avenue NE. Truck with moving lighted arrow signage telling motorists to move to the right.

NE75th_marking_lanes5

View from the west side of the SDOT crew’s spot in the middle of NE 75th Street, as they stop to look at the plans for a moment.

NE75th_marking_lanes2

Worker on the right watches the NE 75th Street plans, while the worker on the left paints the lane plans onto the road surface.

NE75th_marking_lanes3

Above picture taken a few seconds after the previous one, showing the lane painting occurring.

NE75th_marking_lanes4

A look down the hill towards 20th Avenue NE. As the crew worked in the center of the arterial, vehicles parted around them, already driving in the new configuration.

We’ll add more photos here when we have them!

Driven the new NE 75th Street configuration yet? What do you think so far? Tell us in the comments.

Meet your new improved NE 75th Street roadway design (PHOTOS)

Residents living near NE 75th Street between 15th Avenue NE and 35th Avenue NE are coming home today to a postcard from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) outlining the changes that the department has chosen to make to the arterial.

additionally, at about 2:30 PM this afternoon, the NE 75th St project email listserv received an email also outlining the changes (excerpt below):

After five public meetings, numerous on-site observations, and a review of traffic data, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reached a final recommendation for the corridor, involving the following changes to Northeast 75th Street between 15th Avenue Northeast and 35th Avenue Northeast:

  • Providing one general purpose travel lane in each direction
  • Installing a two-way center left turn lane
  • Adding a new marked crosswalk at 28th Avenue Northeast
  • Striping bicycle lanes in both directions
  • Removing on-street parking on Northeast 75th Street, except at Nathan Eckstein Middle School where parking will be maintained for school buses and general parking
  • Adding photo enforcement cameras for the Nathan Eckstein school zone

To summarize, the above is essentially Proposal 4 with some adjustments made to accommodate buses and event parking in front of Eckstein Middle school.

Meet your new NE 75th St configuration -- Proposal 4 (with some Eckstein Middle School adjustments).

Meet your new NE 75th St configuration — Proposal 4 (with some Eckstein Middle School adjustments).

SDOT will begin the rechannelization of the street the week of August 26, with the goal of completing striping before the school year starts on Wednesday, September 4.

Jim Curtin at SDOT was kind enough to send us the plans for the new-and-improved NE 75th Street (783 KB PDF), which include the following bits we’d like to highlight (red lines and figures indicate features to be ADDED, green lines and figures represent current conditions that will be REMOVED):

NE75th_15th

NE 75th Street at 15th Avenue NE (north at the top).

Where NE 75th Street meets 15th Avenue NE, the new, separate bicycle lanes start/end on the east side of the intersection. Left turns are now made from a separate left turn lane.

NE75th_20th

NE 75th Street at 20th Avenue NE.

At NE 75th Street and 20th Avenue NE (a long established bicycle north-south route), the bicycle lanes continue. Left turns are made from the dedicated left turn lane from 75th to 20th.

NE75th_25th

NE 75th Street at 25th Avenue NE (north at the top).

At NE 75th Street at 25th Avenue NE, the bicycle lanes continue, and left turns from 75th to 25th have their own lane.

NE75th_EcksteinW

NE 75th Street at 30th and 31st Avenues NE — West front of Eckstein Middle School (north at the top).

Here’s where things change up a bit: Eckstein Middle School. To make room for a school bus zone/event parking in front of the school, the dedicated left turn lane disappears, tapering away as the eastbound travel lanes and the bicycle lane move toward the north/center of the roadway.

NE75th_EcksteinE

NE 75th Street at 33rd Avenue NE — East front of Eckstein Middle School (north at the top).

Then, on the east side of the front of the school, at 33rd Avenue NE, eastbound travel lane and bicycle land move to the right/south as the left turn lane becomes available again.

NE75th_35th

NE 75th Street at 35th Avenue NE (north at the top).

The new left turn lane continues through the intersection with 35th Avenue NE (the green lines on the plans above are removed). The separate eastbound bike lane ends at this point (but may continue to connect with the 39th Avenue NE Greenway in the future).

For a look at the before and after of a similar project, SDOT recommends we check out the changes that were made to Nickerson Street in 2010. A study on the roadway before and after rechannelization was released in March 2012, and can be viewed here (429 KB PDF).

35th Avenue NE business district survey ends this Sunday — take it now!

Members of the Wedgwood Community Council and Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, together with other neighbors and local business owners have combined to form a group working on a neighborhood plan for 35th Avenue NE.

And part of that plan involves asking users of 35th Avenue NE what they think of the place, so the group has put together a survey.

If you find yourself on 35th Avenue NE on a regular (or even irregular basis), no matter where you live, your input is requested, and appreciated.

The survey has 31 questions, and takes 5-10 minutes to complete.

Click the image above to take the 35th Ave NE Business District survey (through July 14th)

Click the image above to take the 35th Ave NE Business District survey (through July 14th)

Learn more about the 35th Avenue NE neighborhood planning group/process here.

Man walks off bus into traffic on 35th Ave NE, is struck by oncoming vehicle

At 10:39 AM on Wednesday morning, Seattle Fire units responded to a vehicle vs. pedestrian collision on 35th Ave NE, just south of the intersection at NE 75th St.

Picture of the scene taken 50 minutes after the collision by local resident Lacia Lynne Bailey. Seattle Fire units had long since moved on, but SPD traffic investigators kept the street closed off while they worked.

Picture of the scene taken 50 minutes after the collision by local resident Lacia Lynne Bailey. Seattle Fire units had long since moved on, but SPD traffic investigators kept the street closed off while they worked.

The Seattle Fire Department reported on twitter that they had transported a male in his 20s to Harborview Medical Center. The victim was in “critical condition with heavy trauma.”

As for the incident itself, the Seattle Police Department Blotter described the circumstances this way:

At 10:39 am this morning a man got off a Metro coach and stepped into the southbound lanes of 35th Avenue NE.  He was struck by a car driving south on 35th and sustained life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the man was evaluated at the scene by Drug Recognition Experts, as is routine with incidents like this. The driver showed no obvious signs of impairment and was released from the scene just after 1 PM. Dectectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad were still processing the scene as of 1:26 PM, but said that the street “should reopen within the hour.”

We will update this post when we find out more information on the circumstances of the collision and/or updates on the man’s condition.

 

Common themes to residents’ NE 75th Street safety concerns revealed

SDOT_75th_mtg_RECC2

SDOT Traffic Safety Coordinator Jim Curtin (in white) talks to a group of residents about NE 75th Street concerns at the April 25 meeting at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Current Department of Neighborhoods Northeast District Coordinator Jenny Frankl also attended (in blue).

The Seattle Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Coordinator, Jim Curtin, sent an email to the NE 75th St email listserv this week, summarizing the input shared by neighbors about NE 75th St.

SDOT_75th_mtg_RECC9

Those attending the community input meetings were directed to describe street safety issues on Post-It Notes and stick them directly to maps of the area around NE 75th Street. The red stickers also indicate residents’ trouble spots.

Curtin’s email said “[h]undreds of comments have been collected through three public meetings and we’ve received more than 100 emails, letters, and completed comment sheets.”

The common themes of these comments have been:

  • Channelization improvements were requested along segments of NE 65th Street, NE 75th Street, 25th Avenue NE, 35th Avenue NE and Banner Way NE and at several signalized intersections.

  • Speeding is a problem along the NE 75th Street corridor and along segments of nearby arterial streets.

  • The eight schools in the area increase pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle volumes twice a day. Speeding on non-arterial streets during drop-off/pick-up hours is a problem near schools. Many students walk and bike to school and student safety is a priority for residents. New construction at Thornton Creek Elementary will likely change traffic patterns.

  • There is a strong desire to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout the area. Suggestions included adding more and improving existing marked crosswalks, constructing sidewalks, adding bicycle facilities to NE 65th Street and NE 75th Street, and improving signal performance for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Improve access to parks throughout the area and reduce speeds on adjacent streets Improve existing traffic signals to reduce turning movement conflicts with pedestrians and bicyclists and improve traffic flow.

  • Encroachments in the right-of-way limit pedestrian mobility and reduce visibility for all.

  • Congestion is an issue along several corridors during peak hours. This often leads to cut through traffic on non-arterial streets.

  • Existing parking restrictions should be reviewed and existing parking laws should be more strictly enforced. New parking restrictions are needed in a couple of locations.

  • Increased enforcement efforts are needed area-wide to address speeding, distraction driving, impaired driving, and pedestrian and bicycle safety issues.

  • Educational efforts should focus on behavioral issues like impairment, speeding, and distraction with more information about student, pedestrian, and bicycle safety.

Next week, a map of geographically-specific concerns and suggestions will be sent out to the listserv, Curtin said. You can request to receive future NE 75th St Road Safety Project emails here.

SDOT_75th_mtg_RECC8

Chief Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang (white, center) and Safe Routes to School Coordinator Brian Dougherty (navy, right) listen to residents concerns and take notes at the RECC community meeting held April 25.

After the map is complete, SDOT’s next steps in the NE 75th St Road Safety Project involve combining this public input with the already existing Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plans and traffic data. Options for future improvements will then be developed and presented to the community in July.

Wedgwood Community Council meeting – Safer Streets for All (LIVE COVERAGE)