Paramus school bus driver sentenced to 10 years for deadly crash on I-80

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A school bus driver who was involved in the crash on Interstate-80 that killed a fifth grader and an elementary school teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Hudy Muldrow, 79, pleaded guilty in December to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment for the May 2018 crash in Morris County.

Authorities say that Muldrow missed his exit while driving the students on a field trip. Muldrow then tried to make an illegal U-turn on the highway. A dump truck hit the bus, the force ripping the cab from the chassis. Miranda Vargas, 10, and Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy,51, were killed, while more than 40 others were hurt.

Family members of the victims provided victim impact statements for several hours. Williamson-Kennedy’s mother addressed Muldrow directly.

“As I said, you are a very lucky man. You are able to wake up see your family, play with your grandchildren, wake up and see the sun shining, enjoy a meal,” Dolores Williamson said. “Everything you can do was taken away from my precious daughter. You are the reason she isn't here. Your complete negligence and poor judgment took that all away. My heart is broken, my family is shattered and sad. My son is destroyed. He lost his sister, best friend and confidant.”

Watch: Delores Williamson victim impact statement at Hudy Muldrow sentencing hearing

RELATED: Bus driver pleads guilty in crash that killed Paramus teacher, student 
RELATED: Community marks 1 year since deadly school bus crash on I-80 

Vargas’ mother also addressed the court.

“She was everything. My sweet Miranda was only 10 years old and had a heart of gold. She was a special girl. Miranda was a special girl who cared about everyone's well-being,” said L. Vargas. “I will never get to celebrate her Sweet 16, nor will I ever see her go to prom or graduate. I will never have the honor to see her walk down the aisle in a white beautiful dress, instead, it was a white beautiful dress in her casket.”

Watch: Lorena Vargas victim impact statement at Hudy Muldrow sentencing hearing

 Watch: Madison Vargas victim impact statement at Hudy Muldrow sentencing hearing

Muldrow’s son, Hudy Muldrow Jr., asked the judge for mercy for his father.

“Your honor, my closing remarks, I just ask you to have mercy on my father. That's a good man, that's a good man because he produced a good man. I know I’m a good man, because I was raised by one,” Muldrow Jr. said.

Muldrow apologized to the families and stated that he loved the students. The judge acknowledged that Muldrow was remorseful, but said that the punishment was for the crime and not the criminal.

Muldrow was also sentenced to three years of probation and will have his driver’s license suspended for two years upon his release. He must serve at least five years before he is eligible for parole.

The crash became the impetus for several school bus safety laws in New Jersey, including mandatory 3-point seat belts.

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