Driver in fatal school bus crash had multiple suspensions

Driver in fatal school bus crash had multiple suspensions
A school bus collided with a dump truck on I-80 near Mount Olive Township, New Jersey on May 17, 2018 killing a student and a teacher.

The driver of a school bus that collided with a dump truck in New Jersey last week — killing a teacher and a student — had 16 traffic violations and had his license suspended 14 times in the past four decades, a state official told CNN.

At least eight of the traffic violations were for speeding, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission spokeswoman Mairin Bellack told CNN Wednesday.

The license suspensions date to 1975, and the most recent was in December of last year — for unpaid parking tickets, she said. The rest were for administrative or paperwork reasons.

The driver, identified by CNN affiliate WABC as 77-year-old Hudy Muldrow, Sr., had his license restored on January 3, about four months before the May 17 accident on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive Township. He has had a school bus endorsement since 2013.

Muldrow was driving 38 fifth graders and seven adults from East Brook Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey, for a field trip when the accident occurred. Authorities are investigating the cause. Dozens were hurt, including Muldrow and the driver of the dump truck.

The Motor Vehicle Commission does not have employment records so it would not have reported his suspension to the school board.

‘Shocked, saddened and angry’ to learn of driver’s record

Paramus Public School District Superintendent Dr. Michele Robinson says they were not aware of any issues with Muldrow’s driving record.

“I am shocked, saddened and angry to read news reports concerning the school bus driver’s driving record. Nothing that was provided to the district by the state reflected that the driver had any moving violations. In fact, all we were told is that he was a driver in good standing and eligible to operate a school bus. If these news reports are true, our community and our children deserved better than to receive incomplete information about his record,” Robinson said in a statement provided to CNN.

Muldrow currently has no points on his license, has a valid commercial driver’s license, and valid New Jersey driving privileges, Bellack said.

CNN’s attempts to reach Muldrow were unsuccessful. His son told that his father is a good driver and that he didn’t know anything about his driving violations.

Attorney David Fried represents the family of Miranda Vargas, the student who was killed.

He said the driver’s record raises several questions.

“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,” Fried said.

Fried said his office filed a notice of torte claim Tuesday.

Driver’s record shows other accidents

Muldrow’s driving record indicates he has had five previous crashes in New Jersey, but Bellack cautions that that doesn’t mean he was at fault or even involved.

“You can have an accident, that doesn’t mean you were driving or at fault or even in the vehicle. If I parked my vehicle on the side of the road and someone sideswiped it and I call police, then I have an accident on record,” Bellack said.

It’s not clear whether those crashes include last week’s accident.