Thursday, January 2, 2014
ONE DEVASTATING DAY
Mark W. Mullan sits on a curb as police investigate the scene of a fatal accident in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood. The victims were later identified as Judy Schulte, 68, and Dennis Schulte, 66, both killed, and Karina Ulriksen-Schulte and her infant son, Elias, both severely injured. Mullan later pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, and was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison.
When I arrived on this horrific scene, I had no idea if the man on the curb was involved. For all I knew, he could have been a witness. I also had no idea The Seattle Times headline a day later would say this about him: “Driver in fatal Seattle crash had string of DUI arrests, second chances.” As a news photographer I arrive at horrible scenes, having little or no facts. I did not send a photo on Twitter for just these reasons: I simply didn’t have enough information to report on or to be fair to those in my photos. Upset bystanders pleaded with me not to photograph Mark Mullan. Be sensitive and kind, they said, this man’s life is ruined. They had not witnessed the accident, either, and were watching the scene unfold as well. A police officer wondered aloud if I needed to take pictures. I pointed out I had a job to do, like he did. “OK, but they will hate you for it,” he said. I remember thinking, that happened already, when I arrived with cameras. One thing I don’t do is decide whether such images should be published. That job goes to my editors. — Ken Lambert
© 2014 The Seattle Times Company