The driver who was behind the wheel of the Paramus school bus involved in last week’s fatal crash had his license suspended 14 times over the last 43 years — though most of the suspensions were due to parking tickets and administrative problems, state officials said.
Hudy Muldrow Sr., 77, had a valid commercial drivers license and school bus endorsement when his bus crashed while taking Paramus students on a trip to Waterloo Village on Thursday, said Mairin Bellack, a spokeswoman for the state Motor Vehicle Commission.
A student and a teacher were killed in the violent crash with a dump truck on I-80 in Mount Olive. Dozens of others were hurt, including Muldrow, who was hospitalized, his family said.
Though Muldrow had no points on his license at the time of the crash, he has a long history of violations and suspensions, Bellack said.
According to his New Jersey driving record:
- Muldrow’s license was suspended 14 times between 1975 and 2017. Six of the suspensions were due to parking violations. Another seven were for administrative or paperwork reasons. One suspension, in 1977, was for driving while his license was suspended.
- His last license suspension was in 2017 for failing to pay parking tickets. But he got his license back and was employed by the Paramus school district with a valid commercial drivers license for the current school year.
- He also has 16 driving violations on his record, including eight violations for speeding between 1975 and 2001. He was cited for an improper lane change in 2010. The driving record does not indicate if he was driving a school bus or a personal vehicle at the time.
- Muldrow was involved in five previous crashes, his record said. “But it doesn’t mean you were the driver,” Bellack said. The driving record does not indicate if Muldrow was the driver or passenger in the accidents. It also does not say who was at fault.
Muldrow’s son said his father has always been a safe driver.
“That’s the truth. He is a good driver,” Hudy Muldrow Jr. said Tuesday outside his Paterson home.
Asked if he knew about his father’s previous driving violations, Muldrow Jr. said: “I don’t know anything about that. I have nothing else to say.”
Morristown Memorial Medical Center officials said Tuesday they had no record of Muldrow Sr. listed as a current patient. They declined to say if he was treated and released.
Muldrow earns $22,930 a year as a Paramus school bus driver, payroll records show.
Bellack declined to say whether Muldrow had more license suspensions and violations than a typical school bus driver.
“This is a serious crash. It’s very unfortunate,” Bellack said.
None of Muldrow’s previous problems with his license disqualified him from driving a school bus in New Jersey, she said. Under state law, a driver does not lose a commercial drivers license with a school bus and passenger endorsement unless they accumulate 12 or more points on their license at one time.
Points can be taken off licenses over time due to good driving or by taking defensive driving classes.
Law enforcement sources said Muldrow may have been attempting an illegal U-turn on I-80 on Thursday while attempting to get his bus full of students and teachers to Waterloo Village for a field trip.
The two people killed in the crash were Jennifer Williamson, 51, and student Miranda Faith Vargas, 10, both from East Brook Middle School in Paramus. Other students remain in the hospital with serious injuries.