National News

School Bus Driver in Fatal New Jersey Crash Had License Suspended 14 Times

Posted May 22, 2018 10:11 p.m. EDT

The driver of a bus full of fifth-graders that crashed Thursday in Mount Olive, New Jersey, killing two passengers, had his license suspended 14 times, including once late last year, state records show.

About half of those suspensions, including the most recent one, were for parking violations, according to the records of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Only one of the 14 suspensions over a 43-year driving record was for a moving violation — making an improper turn.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, has a valid commercial driver’s license and an endorsement from the state to drive a school bus, said Mairin Bellack, a spokeswoman for the commission. Investigators have been trying to determine if he tried to make an illegal U-turn on Interstate 80 as he was taking 44 passengers from East Brook Middle School in Paramus on a field trip to Waterloo Village in northwestern New Jersey.

The bus collided with a dump truck on the highway and overturned in the median. One 10-year-old student, Miranda Vargas, was killed, as was a teacher, Jennifer Williamson, 51. Everybody else on board, including Muldrow, was injured and taken to a hospital.

Some of the passengers and Muldrow, a resident of Paterson, remained in hospitals this week.

The investigators at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office have video of the bus entering the highway westbound just before the crash, which happened at about 10:20 a.m. But they have not released it to the public, nor have they discussed details of the crash or what may have caused it.

Bellack said Muldrow had been licensed to drive in New Jersey since 1975. During that time he had been involved in five accidents, but Bellack said the records did not indicate the severity of those accidents or whether Muldrow had been driving. She said they could have involved a car registered to him but driven by someone else.

Paramus school officials said Muldrow was employed by the borough’s school board and was driving one of the school district’s buses on the trip last week. The state’s record did not indicate how long Muldrow had been driving for the Paramus schools.

Bellack said a driver must be at least 21 and pass a doctor’s physical exam every two years to maintain a commercial driver’s license. She said there was no upper age limit for those licenses.