PARAMUS, NJ — Hudy Muldrow, Sr., the former school bus driver for the Paramus district whose reckless driving nearly two years ago while shuttling a fifth-grade class to a field trip on Route 80 in Mount Olive resulted in the deaths of one teacher and one student, was sentenced today at the Morris County Courthouse for up to 10 years behind bars.
According to CBS, Judge Stephen Taylor heard tearful pleas from members of Muldrow’s family while the victims’ family members -- which included those of Jennifer Williamson, the teacher who died, and Miranda Vargas, the fifth-grade student who also perished in the crash -- implored the judge that the 79-year-old should get what he deserves.
Flashback to May 2018, Muldrow was operating a school bus that had been carrying 44 students and staff on Route 80 from East Brook Middle School to Waterloo Village for a field trip. After missing the exit, he recklessly attempted to make an illegal U-turn on Route 80 in Mount Olive. While crossing over three lanes of traffic, he collided with a dump trunk causing the school bus to land on its side on a grassy median and rip apart at its chassis. Vargas and Williamson died in the crash while the other 43 students and staff -- a number of whom were hanging from their seat belts -- sustained injuries, some serious and other minor. Over a dozen civil lawsuits have since been filed against Muldrow by parents and teachers.
CBS reported that Lorena Vargas, the mother of 10-year-old Miranda, told Judge Taylor that her “heart is destroyed” due to one man’s “careless act” that “could’ve been prevented.” Miranda’s twin sister Madison told the judge of the “inseparable bond” she shared with her sister. Meanwhile, Joevanny Vargas, Miranda’s father, directed seriousness and anger at Muldrow, telling him that he and the school district “trusted” him to protect the children, and berated him for being selfish, adding “What the hell were you thinking?”
Muldrow, who is due for parole in six months, apologized to the victims’ families who were present, CBS reported, saying, “I have a lot of remorse and I loved those kids that I was driving.”
In December, Muldrow pleaded guilty to a pair of counts of reckless vehicular homicide, five counts of assault by auto, and endangering the welfare of children.
Apart from his sentencing for killing two people in the deadly crash, Muldrow reportedly had a spotty driving record with a string of driver’s license suspensions and numerous speeding tickets dating back to 1975.
"We can never go back and change the events of that most horrific day," said Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. "The families of those involved have endured much pain and our community is forever changed. Today is another step in the long healing process and hope that this brings some closure to all involved. We continue to keep Miranda and Jen, their families, those injured, and all those impacted in our thoughts and prayers. #paramusstrong."
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