June 27, 2013 at 7:28 PM
Victim of high-profile crash: State’s DUI bill doesn’t go far enough
The man whose family was devastated by a crash that propelled state lawmakers to consider tightening state DUI laws says he doesn’t think their final product does enough to address the problem.
Dan Schulte, whose parents were killed and wife and infant son critically injured March 25 when a truck slammed into them as they crossed a North Seattle street, said he has “mixed feelings” about Senate Bill 5912.
“I’m pleased to know the Legislature is working on the issue,” Schulte wrote in a statement to The Seattle Times. “However, I do not believe the bill goes far enough.”
The bill, which would require faster charges and brief initial jail time for repeat DUI offenders, among other provisions, won unanimous approval in the state House on Thursday, one day after it passed the state Senate.
Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it soon.
In announcing the bill’s final version, lawmakers said they simply did not have the money for the more ambitious ideas they proposed in the aftermath of the North Seattle crash — including requiring faster charges for all offenders, increasing minimum jail sentences and making DUI a felony on the fourth conviction, instead of the fifth.
Ultimately, the lawmakers said, passing something was better than nothing.
“It’s a rare opportunity when we can press the green button and literally save lives,” said state Rep. Roger Goodman, a Kirkland Democrat and architect of the bill, who mentioned recent tragedies in his floor speech.
Goodman and others said they hope to take up the issue again soon.
Schulte, in his statement, urged them to do just that.
“Until the next session, my family will be praying that our story and my voice alone will discourage some people from driving while intoxicated, but I know it is not enough,” he wrote. “We need your help, too.”
Specifically, Schulte said, “it’s not clear why any DUI offense is less than a felony.”
His wife, Karina Ulriksen-Schulte, and son, Elias, are both recovering, according to the family. The man who allegedly drunkenly ran them down, Mark Mullan, is awaiting trial.
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