77-year-old bus driver Hudy Muldrow Sr.’s driving resulted in the deaths of 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson and 10-year-old student Miranda Vargas and 40+ other injured students.
Evidence from cameras and witnesses tell the story of the tragedy. Mr. Muldrow missed an exit, got back onto I-80 going eastbound from Route 206, and attempted to quickly cross three lanes of traffic and use an illegal U-turn area meant for emergency vehicles only. He turned and was nearly perpendicular to oncoming traffic and a dump truck t-boned the school vehicle, which was sheared and sent tumbling into the westbound area.
The elderly bus driver was discovered to have a poor driving history, having his license suspended 14 times between 1975 and 2017 for administrative reasons alone. He had eight speeding violations between 1975 and 2001. He also had three moving violations for not wearing a seatbelt, improper turning, and dangerous, risky driving.
He has also been involved in five other crashes in New Jersey. He did not have any drunk driving incidents in his record. It is important to note that he was tested, as bus endorsement requires drivers to pass the following: background check, road test, and a written test.
Court Hearings and the Aftermath in Bergen County
Mr. Muldrow was taken into custody for two counts of vehicular homicide and was immediately scheduled for initial hearings a week later. During the hearings so far, Mr. Muldrow has acted calm and as if he wasn’t at fault. In fact, both him and his son completely deny any attempt of him taking a U-turn.
Attorney David Fried, who represents the family of student Miranda Vargas, has since filed a complaint with the Paramus Board of Education. He also mentioned:
“Certainly, if the bus driver’s record is proven to be this bad, that certainly raises questions on the judgment of the Paramus Board of Education in trusting him as serving as a bus driver for those children.”
Regarding the victims, a funeral Mass was celebrated on a Thursday for Williamson in Paramus. Her obituary noted she had taught in the same grade and same classroom at East Brook Middle School for 20 years. Vargas’s funeral occurred a few days before.
A GoFundMe site set up for victims of the crash and their families has raised almost $100,000, going way beyond their $20,000 goal.
The school created a memorial for the two cherished victims. On the first day that school resumed, a memorial of flowers, cards, candles and a teddy bear grew at the base of the East Brook Middle School’s sign, and blue and white ribbons were found on everything from tree branches to door knobs. It is truly a tragedy.
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