Paramus school bus driver charged for deaths in I-80 crash

Posted: Updated:

The driver of a school bus involved in a deadly crash on Interstate-80 in Mount Olive is now facing criminal charges in relation to that crash.

Morris County prosecutors have charged 77-year-old Hudy Muldrow with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide/death by auto for his alleged role in the May 17 crash.

Muldrow was driving one of three school buses for the Paramus School District. The fifth-grade class from East Brook Middle School was heading to Waterloo Village on a class field trip.

Prosecutors say that around 10 a.m., while en route to Waterloo Village, the three buses left I-80 using Exit 25 and on to Route 206 North. Shortly after that, officials say that they believe that the drivers missed the turn to take them to their destination, and tried to correct the mistake.

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Officials say that while making the corrections, the three buses separated. Two of the buses safely made it to Waterloo Village. But prosecutors say that Muldrow went back on to I-80 West and then attempted to make a U-turn to get on to I-80 East, using the “official use only” median cut out. Officials say that at one point the bus was turned perpendicular to the highway as Muldrow tried to make that turn.

While making the turn, the bus was struck by a dump truck, which was traveling in the center lane of I-80 West, according to officials. The bus was hit with such force that it came off its chassis and overturned on to its side.

Two people were killed as a result of the crash; 10-year-old student Miranda Vargas and 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy. Over 40 students and adults on board the bus, including Muldrow and the driver of the dump truck, were injured.

“The full extent of the non-fatal injuries has yet to be determined, but range from minor to multiple serious and potentially life-threatening injuries,” the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.

At the time of the crash Muldrow had a valid commercial driver’s license and did not have any points on his driving record.

But Muldrow’s personal driver’s license has been suspended 14 times in the past, most recently from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3, according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Many of those suspensions were due to unpaid parking tickets. Muldrow has also been issued eight speeding violations, was cited for an improper turn violation in 2010 and has also received a careless driving ticket.

Paramus School Superintendent Dr. Michele Robinson said Wednesday that she was shocked and angry about the news reports regarding Muldrow’s driving record.

“Nothing that was provided to the district by the state reflected that the driver had any moving violations,” Dr. Michele Robinson said in a statement.

Officials say that is it possible more charges can be filed against Muldrow as the investigation continues. He is due to appear in court Friday morning. 

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