New Jersey school bus driver sentenced to 10 years for crash killing 5th-grader, teacher

Prosecutors said Hudy Muldrow, 79, tried to make an illegal u-turn on a highway when a dump truck hit the bus he was driving.
Miranda Vargas's mother at Hudy Muldrow Sr.'s sentencing hearing in the Morris County courtroom in Morristown, N.J., on Feb. 26, 2020.
Miranda Vargas's mother at Hudy Muldrow Sr.'s sentencing hearing in the Morris County courtroom in Morristown, N.J., on Feb. 26, 2020.NBC New York

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Minyvonne Burke

A New Jersey bus driver who pleaded guilty in the 2018 deaths of a middle school teacher and student who were killed in a crash after he made an illegal u-turn across a highway was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.

Hudy Muldrow, 79, of Woodland Park, was taking a group of fifth-grade students and teachers from East Brook Middle School in Paramus to Waterloo Village, a museum in Byram Township, for a field trip on May 17, 2018, when the fatal accident occurred.

He was indicted last year on two counts of reckless vehicular homicide and 25 counts of assault by auto. Muldrow pleaded guilty to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment this past December, according to NBC New York.

Under his plea deal, Morris County prosecutors agreed to dismiss 20 of the assault by auto charges, the outlet reports.

Hudy Muldrow Sr.'s attorney during his client's sentencing hearing in the Morris County courtroom in Morristown, N.J., on Feb. 26, 2020.NBC New York

A judge sentenced him Wednesday afternoon to 10 years in state prison, NBC New York reports.

Morris County prosecutors said in a press release that Muldrow had merged onto Route 80 shortly before 10:20 a.m. when he made a left turn "in an attempt to gain access to the official-use only access point" located on the other side of the three-lane highway.

A dump truck traveling in the center lane struck the bus, causing it to flip on its side and crash into the center median. The force of the collision caused the bus to break apart.

Jennifer Williamson, a 51-year-old teacher, was killed in the crash, along with a 10-year-old a girl. NBC New York identified her as Miranda Vargas.

Forty other people on the bus were injured, as well as the driver of the dump truck, according to prosecutors.

Miranda's mother read a victim impact statement Wednesday ahead of Muldrow's sentencing.

"My heart is destroyed because of one careless act of a man," the girl's mother, who was only identified in court as L.V., said, according to NBC New York.

"Madison, Miranda's twin, is no longer the Madison we knew. ... I not only lost one daughter, but I also lost the daughter we once knew before our lives were forever changed," she added.

Madison also addressed the courtroom, telling Muldrow that she wants him to "rot in jail," the outlet reported. Miranda's grandfather, Rev. Johnny Rivera, said he does not think Muldrow's actions were intentional and struggled with forgiving him.

Williamson's family also spoke at the sentencing. Her husband, Kevin Kennedy, read a poem detailing his sorrow and pain.

"My heart is wounded, my stomach weak. I'm at my low from such a peak. It's tough to think it's tough to say but my beautiful wife has gone away," he read, according to NBC New York.

Muldrow apologized to the court, saying that he has "deep remorse" and "loved those kids that I was driving."