Driver In Fatal Highway School Bus Crash Faces Sentencing

FILE - In this May 17, 2018 file photo, emergency personnel examine a school bus after it collided with a dump truck, injuring multiple people, on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, N.J. A teacher and student were killed and dozens of other children injured after the bus, crossing multiple lanes, was hit by a dump truck from behind and pushed off its frame. The bus driver, Hudy Muldrow, who pleaded guilty in December 2019 to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment, faces sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (Bob Karp/The Daily Record via AP)

The driver of a school bus who veered across Interstate 80 in New Jersey after missing an exit and crashed into a dump truck, killing a teacher and a student and injuring dozens of others, faced sentencing Wednesday.

Hudy Muldrow, 79, was to appear in state Superior Court in Morristown. He pleaded guilty in December to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment. Prosecutors agreed to recommend a 10-year sentence as part of an agreement that included dismissal of 20 additional charges of assault by auto in the May 2018 crash.

The bus carrying students and teachers from a Paramus middle school merged onto the highway and then headed across three lanes toward a median turnaround limited to official vehicles.

The impact of the crash sheared the bus’ frame from its wheelbase. Social studies teacher Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy, 51, and fifth-grade student Miranda Vargas, 10, were killed, and dozens of other children were injured.

During his plea hearing, Muldrow acknowledged recklessly “driving the bus sideways” across three lanes after missing the exit for Waterloo Village, where the group was headed on a field trip.

Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law four safety bills inspired by the crash.

One requires school bus drivers to take safety classes twice a year. The others call for complying with federal safety regulations, requiring school bus drivers over 70 to show proof of physical fitness, and making the state Department of Education notify local authorities when a driver’s license is revoked or suspended.