A New Jersey school bus driver who allegedly crossed three lanes of traffic and collided with a dump truck earlier in May was charged Thursday in connection with the deaths of a teacher and student.
Hudy Muldrow Sr., 77, has been charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide/death by auto for allegedly driving recklessly and causing the death of 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy and 10-year-old student Miranda Vargas.
NJ.com reported that Muldrow had eight speeding tickets on his driving record and had his license suspended 14 times, most of them for parking tickets and administrative problems.
Authorities say Muldrow, a school bus driver for the Paramus School District, was driving 45 fifth-grade students and teachers from East Brook Middle School bound for Waterloo Village in Byram Township when the fatal crash occurred at about 10:20 a.m. on May 17.
Muldrow allegedly missed the turn that would take the passengers to Waterloo Village and then attempted to make a U-turn between the east and westbound lanes of Route 80 near Mount Olive Township when the bus was hit by a dump truck.
When first responders arrived, the school bus was lying on its left side in the median of the roadway. The body of the bus had detached from the chassis because of the force of the impact with the dump truck, according to a press release.
Williamson, a social studies teacher who had recently purchased a dairy farm with her husband in upstate New York, and Vargas, died in the bus crash.
After her death, Williamson’s husband shared his grief.
“My beautiful bride and I have been in total love every day of our lives since the day our eyes met on May 5th, 1994,” he said in a statement obtained by NJ.com.
“I am in shock, devastated and totally crushed by today’s tragedy to both sides of the Williamson-Kennedy families, the community she taught and the thousands of students and their families she was very proud to serve,” he continued.
Vargas’ family described the fifth grader as “our princess” in an obituary, according to NJ.com.
“We know that an angel was needed, and you were it,” the family wrote. “You have always been an angel and God has now decided to bring you home. Please continue to look after us. This decision God has made is painful. We will miss you and never forget you. You have always been our baby and you continue to be exactly that.”
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Muldrow and the dump truck driver were injured in the crash along with multiple passengers.
“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 press release states.
Morris County prosecutors say the investigation remains open and more charges may be filed.
Muldrow, who is currently housed in the Morris County Correctional Facility, is scheduled to appear at the Morris County courthouse May 25.
It is unclear if Muldrow has retained an attorney.