'Long road ahead': Mom, baby still struggling after DUI crash

SEATTLE - A mother and her baby who were critically injured when they were struck by a drunk driver in Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood five weeks ago have made some progress but remain hospitalized with significant brain damage, the woman's husband said Tuesday.

The mother, Karina Schulte, 33, has been moved out of the critical care unit, but doctors are unsure how much brain damage she has suffered, said her husband, Dan Schulte.

"She has a pretty long road ahead of her," he said at a news conference at Seattle Children's Hospital, where his young son is undergoing treatment. "She suffered a stroke the day after the accident and ... it's affected the left side of her brain."

He said doctors don't believe she is able to understand much communication, but they say she definitely recognizes her husband and others who come into the room, and is also able to communicate some with her eyes.

The baby boy, Elias Jose Schulte, now about 7 weeks old, has also suffered a traumatic brain injury. But because he's still so young, doctors don't know yet how much of that will be permanent and what level of functionality he'll have.

The March 25 crash also killed Dan Schulte's parents, Dennis and Judy Schulte, who had just moved to Seattle from Indiana to be near the young family.

Judy Schulte was an English teacher and guidance counselor who had led a campaign in local schools against drunk driving. Dennis was a retired teacher and coach.

The day of the crash was the first time that Karina Schulte had ventured for a walk after giving birth to her son, and it was also the day her husband returned to work, according to court documents.

The driver, Mark W. Mullan, 50, has a long history of DUI arrests and is being held on $2.5 million bail in the deadly crash. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators say Mullan was drunk, with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, when he crashed into the three adults and the infant as they crossed NE 75th Street on the afternoon of March 25. Mullan told police he couldn't see the people due to the sun being in his eyes, according to court documents.

But one doctor at Tuesday's news conference teared up and said, "This was not an accident. .... We see this far too often and something has got to change."

Court records show Mullan was arrested five times for DUI before the deadly March 25 crash.