Two people in their sixties were killed, and a woman and a 10-day-old baby are at Harborview in critical condition as police continue to investigate the driver who plowed through them with his Chevy Silverado while they were crossing the street near Eckstein Middle School. It's a notorious intersection because it's at the top of a hill.
But the driver in this case, identified as Mark W. Mullan, age 50, also has a history of bad driving. He'd been arrest for DUI in Seattle of Dec. 26, and in Snohomish County Jan. 14 for DUI.
But The Seattle Times found his record goes back to 1991: A citation for inattentive driving, a red light violation in 1997, speeding citations in 2001, 2003, 2007.
His did not try to run, and there's a picture in the Times of him sitting on the curb, apparently distraught, just a few feet from the bodies covered in sheets.
His family is quoted as saying he was a nice guy, active in the North Seattle Pony League youth baseball association. But he'd struggled with the bottle and just couldn't stop drinking.
And I would ask the same question I would ask if this was a mentally ill person who'd just shot someone, why was his still driving? Maybe you should be able to petition a court to take away driving rights. I'll bet Mark Mullan himself now wishes someone had done that.
We don't know how fast he may have been going, but it happened so fast that passers by had to wave away other traffic to prevent more cars from hitting the bodies.
But this raises another issue:
They were in a school zone, but were apparently not in a crosswalk. Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz reminded us, and now I sound like your nanny, but if you're crossing the street, even if you have the right of way, just in the interest of self-preservation, make eye contact.
"So what we'll be doing, starting tomorrow (Tuesday,) we'll be working with Eckstein Middle School and other area schools around here, letting them know what happened. Reminding the faculty and also parents to talk to their kids about good pedestrian safety - where best to cross the street - those kinds of things.
"We're also going to have added visibility out here, including extra patrol cars, units in the area. But it's also just a good reminder for drivers that pedestrians have the right of way. But it's also a good reminder for pedestrians not to rely on drivers to stop when they are crossing an intersection, whether it's marked or otherwise. Take that extra moment and try and make eye contact with driver before stepping out into the roadway."
After two DUI arrests - and there's no mention of convictions in those cases - but it's a red flag. Even if you're not convicted, cars need to be taken away from these people. And if it means giving families the power to petition the court, let's do it. There's no second amendment for cars.